Nanomedicine, a very important subfield of nanotechnology, is supposed to bring big changes in medicine. Since our lives practically depend on medicine, nanomedicine is supposed to bring big changes in the way we live. However, all this lies in the future and nobody knows the answers to „when“ questions.
Some of the changes that might come in the future are slightly breaking the rules of bioethics and ethics in general. That’s why there are some people who are against research in certain areas of nanomedicine. On the other hand, some people are „all in“ and are supporting various studies. To try to make things clear, let’s have a look at some things that nanomedicine has to offer…
» DISEASE TREATMENT
Many researchers have done numerous studies so far and shown real progress in this area. Most of the studies are still in development or testing stages, but some of them reached clinical phases and are doing well.
Let’s take cancer as an example… Certain nanoparticles, when injected into human’s body, tend to seep into cancer cells and glow – that way they are leading the surgeon so he exactly knows what to cut out. Some studies have already shown that nanoshells are able to destroy cancer cells in mice.
What about cell repair? Molecular machines will be able to enter through the cell membrane and repair the cell! How amazing would that be? Nanosystems will be able to tell which cell is healthy and which is damaged (and then repair the bad one).
Apart from these examples, there are many researchers working on discovering the cure for many diseases (which are, so far, uncureable) such as malaria, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and many others.
» DRUG DELIVERY
Have you ever taken a certain pill and wondered how it successfully managed to „heal“ you? Where did it go and what did it do? The real problem lies in the following – only a small portion of that pill actually makes it to it’s target (where it’s supposed to go) and the rest of it spreads through the body and ends somewhere where it’s not supposed to. Maybe this won’t cause big harm, but…
A very important part of nanomedicine research is drug delivery. Increasing drug’s bioavailability is what it’s all about. It is estimated that around 60 billion dollars are being wasted every year because of low bioavailability. To increase it, scientists tend to add nanoparticles and increase it to the maximum. That means that when you take a certain drug, it completely comes to it’s target and therefore „heals“ way better, faster and stronger.
» MEDICAL DIAGNOSTICS
This is also an interesting part… The idea is to be able to discover the disease in it’s early stages. It is much easier to remove a small portion of the „bad“ tissue than when it spreads to wider areas.
These are the main three areas on which the nanomedicine researchers are focused. They are showing progress every day which is encouraging. It is worth to metion that this is a billion dollar industry. USA’s and EU’s institutions are investing billions of dollars in various studies, private investors are „high“ on all companies that deal with nano*. It won’t take long until the billion dollar industry becomes trillion dollar industry, economic analysts predict.