Nanotechnology and nanomedicine: a primer.

Department of Community and Family Medicine, Howard University College of Medicine, Washington, DC 20059, USA.
Journal of the National Medical Association (Impact Factor: 0.91). 01/2007; 98(12):1985-8.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Nanosciences and nanotechnology are transforming a wide array of products and services that have the potential to enhance the practice of medicine and improve public health. But there are a number of health, safety and environmental issues to be addressed. This review summarizes some basic facts about nanotechnology and cites examples of its application to medicine and public health.

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    ABSTRACT: Nanoscience is at the leading edge of the rapidly developing field of nanotechnology. Nanosciences and nanotechnology are transforming a wide array of products and services that have the potential to enhance the practice of medicine and improve public health. Several areas of medical care are already benefiting from the advantages that nanotechnology can offer. Applications of nanoscience are in biotechnology, medicine, pharmaceuticals, physics, material science and also electronics. Nanotechnology extends the limits of molecular diagnostics to the nanoscale. Nanotechnology on a chip is one more dimension of microfluidic/lab on a chip technology. We still suffer serious and complex illnesses like cancer, cardiovascular diseases, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, and diabetes as well as different kinds of serious inflammatory or infectious diseases (e.g. HIV). It is of extreme importance to face these diseases with appropriate means. The interplay between nanoscience and biomedicine is the hallmark of current scientific research worldwide. The use of nanoscience may open new vistas of improving the effectiveness and efficiency of medical diagnosis and therapeutics, so called nanomedicine. An appealing example is the use of quantum dots as fluorescent labels. Despite recent progress in the treatment of cancer, the majority of cases are still diagnosed only after tumors metastasize, leaving the patient with a grim prognosis. Nanotechnology is in a unique position to transform cancer diagnostics and to produce a new generation of biosensors and medical imaging techniques with higher sensitivity and precision of recognition. Novel nanotechnologies can complement and augment existing genomic and proteomic techniques employed to analyze variations across different tumor types, thus offering the potential to distinguish between normal and malignant cells. This brief review tries to reiterate the most contemporary developments in the field of applied nanoscience, particularly in their relevance in diagnosis of various diseases and discuss their future prospects.
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    ABSTRACT: Due to their excellent specificity for a single epitope, monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) present a means of influencing the function of cells at the molecular level. In particular they show great promise in the treatment of cancer because they can inhibit cancer cell proliferation, tumor angiogenesis, invasiveness and malignant spread of cancerous cells. Many mAbs are in various stages of testing and 11 are currently marketed in the US or Europe for the treatment of cancers that express particular antigens such as human epidermal growth factor receptor-2, CD20, epidermal growth factor receptor and vascular endothelial growth factor. Strategies to conjugate mAbs to toxins, radioactive isotopes and chemotherapeutic drugs to improve efficacy are under intense investigation and numerous immunoconjugates have been studied in the clinical setting. However, the molecules have limitations, and so nanomaterials (NMs), which potentially offer more flexibility of design and functionality in providing platforms for binding of multiple therapeutic agents in a single structure, are being examined as an alternative. Studies utilizing mAb-targeted NMs have shown that they exhibit focused targeting, improved pharmacokinetics and improved "passive" drug delivery via leaky vasculature. Nevertheless, before they can be utilized to treat cancer, potential NM toxicity must be thoroughly investigated. Thus, rigorous testing of NM-mAb conjugates in both in vitro and in vivo systems is underway to determine how NM-mAb conjugates will interact with cells and tissues of the body. In this review, we discuss the broad range of nanomaterials that are under investigation as potential platforms for the presentation of mAbs either as single therapeutics or in combination with other drugs and their advantages and limitations in specifically targeting cancer.
    mAbs 09/2011; 3(5):467-78. DOI:10.4161/mabs.3.5.16089 · 4.73 Impact Factor


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