The research objective of this Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) project is to utilize nanomanufacturing strategies to develop a nanodiamond-embedded patch device for cancer drug delivery. Nanodiamonds are carbon-based platform materials that can be linked with nearly any type of drug for cancer treatment. Furthermore, they are scalable, meaning they can be economically synthesized in large quantities. The envisioned device will possess minimally-invasive dimensions (20-30 microns thick). Furthermore, due to the high surface area-to-volume ratio of the nanodiamonds, a large amount of drug can be loaded into the device while maintaining its extremely thin properties. The nanodiamond device will be engineered for multi-drug release, and as such, will pre-deliver an anti-inflammatory drug (Dexamethasone) which will be followed by the release of a potent cancer drug (Doxorubicin). As sequential drug release has been shown to improve cancer cell treatment, this strategy will simultaneously address the treatment of cancer cells and any complications that (e.g. inflammation) are associated with chemotherapy.
The optimized treatment of cancer represents one of the major biological challenges of this generation. Current needs require the implementation of localized and sustained drug delivery technologies. The proposed device harnesses the slow drug release properties of the nanodiamonds which can meet these requirements. Educational efforts directed towards the realization of the research objectives will include the development of nano-drug delivery based teaching modules that are being developed by graduate students for the K-12 environment. Furthermore, experimental kits that integrate concepts from manufacturing, materials science, biology, among other domains will provide a hands-on, multidisciplinary environment to train the next generation of science/engineering leadership.