Synthesis of nanodiamond-daunorubicin conjugates to overcome multidrug chemoresistance in leukemia

Han B. Man, Hansung Kim, Ho Joong Kim, Erik Robinson, Wing Kam Liu, Edward Kai Hua Chow*, Dean Ho

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


Nanodiamonds (NDs) are promising candidates in nanomedicine, demonstrating significant potential as gene/drug delivery platforms for cancer therapy. We have synthesized ND vectors capable of chemotherapeutic loading and delivery with applications towards chemoresistant leukemia. The loading of Daunorubicin (DNR) onto NDs was optimized by adjusting reaction parameters such as acidity and concentration. The resulting conjugate, a novel therapeutic payload for NDs, was characterized extensively for size, surface charge, and loading efficiency. A K562 human myelogenous leukemia cell line, with multidrug resistance conferred by incremental DNR exposure, was used to demonstrate the efficacy enhancement resulting from ND-based delivery. While resistant K562 cells were able to overcome treatment from DNR alone, as compared with non-resistant K562 cells, NDs were able to improve DNR delivery into resistant K562 cells. By overcoming efflux mechanisms present in this resistant leukemia line, ND-enabled therapeutics have demonstrated the potential to improve cancer treatment efficacy, especially towards resistant strains. From the Clinical Editor: The authors of this study demonstrate superior treatment properties of resistant leukemia cell lines by utilizing nanodiamond vectors loaded with daunorubicin, paving the way to clinical studies in the hopefully not too distant future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)359-369
Number of pages11
JournalNanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology, and Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2014


  • Chemoresistance
  • Drug delivery
  • Leukemia
  • Nanodiamond
  • Nanomedicine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Pharmaceutical Science


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