As strange as it sounds, many scientists have tried to put extremely small diamonds inside living cells. What for? The fact is that nanodiamonds are very bright and can give scientists unique knowledge about the inner life of cells for a long time. Now physicists from Lund University in Sweden have managed to inject large quantities of nanodiamonds directly into the cell.
Diamonds are prized not only for their beauty, but also for their unique luminescent properties, at least among scientists.
“We think of diamonds as dyes. They are also biocompatible, ”explains Elke Hebisch, female researcher in solid state physics at Lund University. Together with Professor Christelle Prinz, she “injected” fluorescent nanosized diamonds into living cells.
Having such a reporter inside the cell has many advantages: gaining new knowledge about the cell, as well as observing what is happening inside the cell over time. Understanding these processes is especially important. Yes, scientists have the ability to take pictures of, for example, proteins in a cell. But changes are difficult to track.
The successful introduction of nanodiamonds into living cells will allow scientists to separate healthy cells from sick ones and study the proteins inside a particular cell. The knowledge gained can be used to understand diseases and develop new drugs.
Other researchers have previously tried to do the same, but then the diamonds were taken care of by “purifiers” of the cell – lysosomes, which quickly encapsulated a foreign substance.
The same technique could eventually be used to transport other molecules to reshape cells or heal sick people.