Nanotechnology is the study of enormously little structures, having size of 0.1 to 100 nm. Nano medicine is a comparatively new field of science and technology. Classification of nano materials based on their dimensions is given. An application of Nanotechnology in different fields such as health and medicine, electronics, energy and environment, is discussed in detail.
Nanotechnology in Medicine – Nanomedicine
Nanomedicine not only has the probable to modify medical science radically but to open a new field of human enhancements that is poised to add a reflective and compound set of ethical questions for health care professionals. For example, there is a fine line between medical and non-medical uses of nanotechnology for diagnostic, therapeutic and protective purposes (e.g. non-medical implants in soldiers). The question of whether nanotechnology should be used to make planned changes in or to the body when the change is not medically essential is just one hot topic in a long list of concerns.
The exploit of nanotechnology in medicine offers some stimulating possibilities. Some techniques are only predictable, while others are at diverse stages of testing, or really being used today. Nanotechnology in medicine involves applications of nanoparticles currently under development, as well as longer range research that involves the use of manufactured nano-robots to make repairs at the cellular level (sometimes referred to as nanomedicine).
Whatever you call it, the use of nanotechnology in the field of medicine could reform the way we perceive and treat damage to the human body and disease in the future, and many techniques only imagined a few years ago are making notable progress towards becoming realities.
Nanotechnology and Medicine
Nanotechnology involves manipulating properties and structures at the nanoscale, often concerning dimensions that are just tiny fractions of the width of a human hair. Nanotechnology is already being used in products in its passive form, such as cosmetics and sunscreens, and it is expected that in the coming decades, new phases of products, such as better batteries and improved electronics equipment, will be developed and have far-reaching implications.
One area of nanotechnology function that holds assure of providing huge benefits for society in the future is in the realm of medicine. Nanotechnology is already being used as the basis for new, more effective drug delivery systems and is in early stage development as scaffolding in nerve regeneration research. Moreover, the National Cancer Institute has created the Alliance for Nanotechnology in Cancer in the hope that investments in this branch of nanomedicine could lead to breakthroughs in terms of detecting, diagnosing, and treating various forms of cancer.
Nanotechnology in Medicine Application: Drug Delivery
One application of nanotechnology in medicine currently being developed involves employing nanoparticles to deliver drugs, heat, light or other substances to specific types of cells (such as cancer cells). Particles are engineered so that they are attracted to diseased cells, which allows direct treatment of those cells. This technique reduces damage to healthy cells in the body and allows for earlier detection of disease.
For example, nanoparticles that deliver chemotherapy drugs directly to cancer cells are under development. Tests are in progress for targeted delivery of chemotherapy drugs and their final approval for their use with cancer patients is pending. One company, CytImmune has published the results of a Phase 1 Clinical Trial of their first targeted chemotherapy drug and another company, BIND Biosciences, has published preliminary results of a Phase 1 Clinical Trial for their first targeted chemotherapy drug and is proceeding with a Phase 2 Clinical Trial.
In the past few decades, imaging has become a critical tool in the diagnosis of disease. The advances in the form of magnetic resonance and computer tomography are remarkable, but nanotechnology promises sensitive and extremely accurate tools for in vitro and in vivo diagnostics far beyond the reach of today’s state-of-the-art equipment.
As with any advance in diagnostics, the ultimate goal is to enable physicians to identify a disease as early as possible. Nanotechnology is expected to make diagnosis possible at the cellular and even the sub-cellular level.
In terms of therapy, the most significant impact of nanomedicine is expected to be realized in drug delivery and regenerative medicine. Nanoparticles enable physicians to target drugs at the source of the disease, which increases efficiency and minimizes side effects. They also offer new possibilities for the controlled release of therapeutic substances. Nanoparticles are also used to stimulate the body’s innate repair mechanisms. A major focus of this research is artificial activation and control of adult stem cells.
The future of electronic nanotechnology in medicine
Thanks to nanotechnologies, in particular nanoelectronics, the medical sector is about to undergo deep changes by exploiting the traditional strengths of the semiconductor industry – miniaturization and integration. While conventional electronics have already found many applications in biomedicine – medical monitoring of vital signals, biophysical studies of excitable tissues, implantable electrodes for brain stimulation, pacemakers, and limb stimulation – the use of nanomaterials and nanoscale applications will bring a further push towards implanted electronics in the human body.
A lot of nanotechnology work is going on in the area of brain research. For instance the use of a carbon nanotube rope to electrically stimulate neural stem cells; nanotechnology to repair the brain and other advances in fabricating nanomaterial-neural interfaces for signal generation.