Mechanism-independent optimization of combinatorial nanodiamond and unmodified drug delivery using a phenotypically driven platform technology

ACS Nano. 2015 Mar 24;9(3):3332-44. doi: 10.1021/acsnano.5b00638. Epub 2015 Feb 23.


Combination chemotherapy can mediate drug synergy to improve treatment efficacy against a broad spectrum of cancers. However, conventional multidrug regimens are often additively determined, which have long been believed to enable good cancer-killing efficiency but are insufficient to address the nonlinearity in dosing. Despite improved clinical outcomes by combination treatment, multi-objective combination optimization, which takes into account tumor heterogeneity and balance of efficacy and toxicity, remains challenging given the sheer magnitude of the combinatorial dosing space. To enhance the properties of the therapeutic agents, the field of nanomedicine has realized novel drug delivery platforms that can enhance therapeutic efficacy and safety. However, optimal combination design that incorporates nanomedicine agents still faces the same hurdles as unmodified drug administration. The work reported here applied a powerful phenotypically driven platform, termed feedback system control (FSC), that systematically and rapidly converges upon a combination consisting of three nanodiamond-modified drugs and one unmodified drug that is simultaneously optimized for efficacy against multiple breast cancer cell lines and safety against multiple control cell lines. Specifically, the therapeutic window achieved from an optimally efficacious and safe nanomedicine combination was markedly higher compared to that of an optimized unmodified drug combination and nanodiamond monotherapy or unmodified drug administration. The phenotypically driven foundation of FSC implementation does not require any cellular signaling pathway data and innately accounts for population heterogeneity and nonlinear biological processes. Therefore, FSC is a broadly applicable platform for both nanotechnology-modified and unmodified therapeutic optimizations that represent a promising path toward phenotypic personalized medicine.

Keywords: biocompatibility; breast cancer; drug delivery; nanodiamond; nanomedicine; optimization.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Antineoplastic Agents / chemistry*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Drug Carriers / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Nanodiamonds / chemistry*
  • Nanomedicine / methods*
  • Phenotype*
  • Rats


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Drug Carriers
  • Nanodiamonds