Saha M. Nanomedicine, an offshoot of nanotechnology, refers to highly specific medical intervention at the molecular scale for curing disease or repairing damaged tissues, such as bone, muscle, or nerve. Nanotechnology is a collective term referring to technological developments on the nanometer scale, usually 0. A nanometer is one-billionth of a meter, too small to be seen with a conventional laboratory microscope. It is at this size scale - about nanometers or less - that biological molecules and structures inside living cells operate.
Therefore, nanotechnology is engineering and manufacturing at the molecular scale. Utilities of nanotechnology to biomedical sciences imply creation of materials and devices designed to interact with the body at sub-cellular scales with a high degree of specificity. This could be potentially translated into targeted cellular and tissue-specific clinical applications aimed at maximal therapeutic effects with very limited adverse-effects. Nanomedicine can offer impressive resolutions for various life threatening diseases.
In the first half of the 21st century, nanomedicine should eliminate virtually all common diseases of the 20th century, and virtually all medical pain. This article presents an overview of some of the applications of nanotechnology in nanomedicine. Received: 02 Jul Accepted: 29 Sep Address correspondence and reprint request to: Dr.
Nanomedicine uses nano-sized tools for the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of disease and to gain increased understanding of the complex underlying pathophysiology of disease. The ultimate goal is to improve the quality of life. The aim of nanomedicine may be broadly defined as the comprehensive monitoring, repairing and improvement of all human biological systems, working from the molecular level using engineered devices and nanostructures to achieve medical benefit.
Most broadly, nanomedicine is the process of diagnosing, treating, and preventing disease and traumatic injury, relieving pain, and of preserving and improving human health, using molecular tools and molecular knowledge of the human body. Nanomedicine offers the prospect of powerful new tools for the treatment of human diseases and the improvement of human biological systems using molecular Nanotechnology. It will lead to the building of computer controlled molecular tools much smaller than a human cell with the accuracy and precision of drug molecules.
Such tools will allow medicine, for the first time to intervene in a sophisticated and controlled way at the cellular and molecular level. Just as today the artificial heart has been developed, so in the future, perhaps artificial mitochondrion would be developed. This review is aimed to explore several of the worst medical problems and how nanotechnology can be used to cure them.
Diseases and Cures by Nanomedicine. Medical science has scored some impressive successes. Antibiotics have reduced diseases caused by bacteria remarkably. Nowadays, vitamin and mineral deficiency diseases are rare in developed nations. However, there are still many diseases that limit our lifespan, and the medicines concerned can only postpone them but are not able to cure. Life cannot be extended indefinitely without curing each disease that threatens to shorten it.
Treatment of Cancer. At a cellular level, cancerous tissues are usually quite different from normal tissues. Many cancer cells change the chemicals on their surface, and are therefore easy to identify. However, most cancer cells grow faster or change shape and every cancer involves a genetic change that causes a difference in the chemicals inside the cell. The immune system takes advantage of surface markers to destroy cancer cells; but this is not enough to keep us cancer-free. Nanobots will have several advantages. Firstly, they can physically enter cells and scan the chemicals inside.
Secondly, they can have on board computers that allow them to do calculations not available to immune cells.
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Thirdly, nanobots can be programmed and deployed after a cancer is diagnosed, whereas the immune system is always guessing about whether a cancer exists. Given such molecular tools, a small device can be designed to identify and kill cancer cells. The device would have a small computer, several binding sites to determine the concentration of specific molecules, and a supply of some poison which could be selectively released and able to kill a cell identified as cancerous.
The device would circulate freely throughout the body and would periodically sample its environment by determining whether the binding sites were occupied or not. Occupancy statistics would allow determination of concentration.
The cancer-killing device mentioned here could incorporate a dozen different binding sites and so could monitor the concentrations of a dozen different types of molecules. Prevention of Brain Damage in Neurodegenerative Diseases. This poses a special problem for life extension; the information stored in the brain must be preserved over extended periods of time, safe from disease and accident. Obviously, it is good to prevent the premature death of neurons.
In each of these cases, neuron death can be greatly slowed if not prevented entirely by controlling the chemistry inside the cell. Injurious chemicals can be vacuumed up and converted into harmless ones.
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It is now acknowledged that brain cells do regenerate; the brain is generating new cells all the time. This implies that some neural death is normal. How do the new cells know how to behave? This may make it possible to create an artificial neuron or even an artificial neural net that can be used to replace missing neurons and retain old memories. But even if this proves to be impossible, the worst-case scenario is one in which people cannot remember much farther than a century back. More memory loss than this can be accepted as a natural consequence of aging.
Hormone Deficiency. Aging is associated with changes in the levels of many hormones; perhaps the best known example is menopause, which is caused by a reduction in estrogen. It is likely that treating glands against aging at the cellular level would restore age-appropriate hormone production. However, if this is not enough to bring the body to a younger state, artificial glands could be built that would maintain the desired hormone levels. In fact, different hormone levels could be supplied to different organs -something that the body cannot do for itself.
This would be an example of heterostasis. For the treatment of Infection. Bacteria, viruses, and parasites are continuing problems. Antibiotics work well against most bacteria; however, antibiotic-resistant strains are developing. Since viruses are not active until they take over a cell, they are immune to antibiotics, and medicine cannot do much against them. There are many kinds of parasites that may need individual medical techniques.
Our immune system is quite effective in dealing with most infections but the immune system needs to learn about it by experience.
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- Robert Freitas.
- Intraseasonal Variability in the Atmosphere-Ocean Climate System.
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It is generally most effective at fighting organisms that it can recognize on a molecular level. Some diseases, such as Ebola, progress too rapidly for the immune system to respond. Syphilis survives by being stealthy and by surrounding itself with the chemicals of the body to camouflage itself.
- Basic Capabilities, 1st Edition.
- Theoretical concepts in physics: an alternative view of theoretical reasoning in physics for final-year undergraduates.
- Recommended For You.
- Nanomedicine, Volume I: Basic Capabilities / Edition 1.
- Exploring Federalism.
- Dont Stand So Close.
HIV directly attacks the immune system. Nanobots have several advantages over the immune system. They will not be susceptible to attack by natural pathogens. They will have computational resources unavailable to immune cells. Likewise, the system can be activated based on external knowledge of the likelihood of a disease; the nanobots would not have to waste energy looking for malaria in winter.
Nanotech will provide more options for cleaning up after a disease, since corrupted genes will be repairable without killing the affected cell. Some diseases, such as cholera and tetanus, live in the environment; without scrubbing the whole earth, we cannot get rid of them entirely, therefore, we will need to maintain an immune system against them.
But many diseases cannot survive without humans to infect. Cheap manufacturing would allow the creation of billions of doses of highly effective treatments that would be easy to distribute and administer; the main obstacles to wiping out many diseases worldwide would be political, not economic or technological. Microbivores could also be useful for treating infections of the meninges or the cerebrospinal fluid CSF and respiratory diseases involving the presence of bacteria in the lungs or sputum, and could also digest bacterial biofilms. These handy nanorobots could quickly rid the blood of nonbacterial pathogens such as viruses viremia , fungus cells fungemia , or parasites parasitemia.
Outside the body, microbivore derivatives could help clean up biohazards, toxic biochemicals or other environmental organic materials spills, as in bioremediation. For Life Saving after Accidents. Chapter 3. Molecular Transport and Sortation.
F.R.E.E [D.O.W.N.L.O.A.D] Nanomedicine, Volume I: Basic Capabilities: Vol 1 [A.U.D.I.O.B.O.O.K]
Mechanical Systems Afterword by Ralph C. Appendix A. Useful Data in Medical Nanodevice Design Appendix B. Concentrations of Human Blood Components Appendix C. Back Cover The Prospect of Nanomedicine 1. Pathways to Molecular Manufacturing 2. Molecular Transport and Sortation 3. Nanosensors and Nanoscale Scanning 4. Shapes and Metamorphic Surfaces 5.
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Power 6. Communication 7. Navigation 8. Manipulation and Locomotion 9.
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