Benefits of Nanomedicine

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Nanotechnology is defined as “the study of manipulating matter on an atomic and molecular scale. ” Nanomedicine is the application of nanotechnology within a medical background. Nanomedicine provides us with the technology to quickly and more efficiently diagnose, fix, and heal the body at an accelerated rate while causing a significantly less amount of harm or stress on the body during the process than current procedures. We are able to achieve this by constructing microscopic devices to allow us the ability to reconstruct tissue, fight disease, and even reverse the effects of aging on a cellular level.

The technology is no longer exclusive to books, TV, and movies, the technology is here, and it is on the rise. Although the idea of nanomedicine might sound fairly new, according to Nano. gov, in 1997, the U. S. has spent 116 million dollars towards the research and development of nanotechnology. Each year more and more is invested as its potential rapidly becomes realized with over 849 million spent alone in 2008. Doctors and physicians need to begin to apply the applications of nanotechnology into the medical field to better benefit the health of the human race.

Usually, when a patient is diagnosed with an illness or disease, it is most of the time derived from past medical history (both from the patient and the patient’s family), numerous diagnostics tests, as well as the patient’s recollection of the symptoms he or she might remember. Needless to say misdiagnosis is common, too common. The Center for Responsible Nanotechnology (TCFRN), believes in the near future, that doctors will be able to monitor their patients via real-time full body scans from permanently implanted sensors searching for toxins, imbalances, deposits, cancer cells and any other imperfection in the body.

These scans will not only be full scale scans but will also provide three dimensional images to a physician to pin point specific areas of the body. In most cases, TCFRN believes, “Widespread monitoring of health and the environment will allow detection of the source of such problem before they can injure people. ” Not only will this cut down on the wait time of a diagnosis but will minimize the risk for diagnostic error as well as medical malpractice. With improved diagnostics comes improved prognosis and treatment.

Since nanotechnology is the process of manipulating matter at a molecular level, machines smaller than a single cell will be designed to repair damage, fight disease, and maintain balance at the cellular level. These “nanorobots” would be created and manufactured in “nanofactories” small enough to fit on a desktop. Dr. Robert A. Freitas of the Institute of Molecular Manufacturing, author of Nanomedicine, states, “Nanotechnology will let us repair non-functioning tissue, leading us to reexamine the concept of clinical death used in medicine today. If doctors could reverse death at a cellular level, just imagine what else this technology could do for the benefit of health. These nanorobots will be inserted into the body and start working on a specific area within the host. Once entered into a cell, the nanobots will then be able to attach to and kill both virus and bacterial molecules almost instantly. At the same time, the robots will be programmed to repair individual cells. These devices will then be monitored on the body scams and actually witness the work being done to the effected area.

Eventually, working cell by cell, these machines will be able to repair whole organs without the use of drugs or surgical intervention. This will dramatically decrease the need for organs and organ replacement. Another area in which nanotechnology will aid the medical field is in pharmacology in bioavailability in the body. Nanopaarticles will be used to alter the make up a drug in a way that will make the body absorb more of a drug so that less is wasted.

As said by Wikipedia, over 65 billion dollars are wasted each year due to poor bioavailability. In many cases, drugs cause damage to sounding tissue, there is a solution to this too. With the implanted sensors, doctors will be able to monitor where various drugs are at in the body. These doctors will then be able to manually activate the drug once it travels to a specific part of the body that it is designed to travel. Many people are against the very mention of nanotechnology, and for a valid reason too.

The greatest fear concerning nanotechnology is a substance called “grey goo”. Many people believe that nanomachines or particles would begin to replicate beyond control and begin to consume all matter that crossed their path. “Grey goo” was first mentioned by Eric Drexler Ph. D. , author and researcher of advanced nanotechnology. In Drexler’s book, Engines of Creation, Drexler brings to light a scenario in which self replicating robots could hypothetically overrun the world.

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