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: 0.96). 01/2007; 98(12):1985-8.
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: Nanomedicine, nowadays, is a popular keyword in the media, although everyone seems to associate it with different visions, hopes and even fears. This article gives a perspective from two sides. From the point of view of a materials scientist, it will be pointed out what new materials will be possible, how they will be designed and which properties they could offer for diagnosis and treatment. From the point of view of a medical doctor, it will be pointed out which properties are actually desired and what materials are hoped for practical applications. The two different points of view indicate that, although sophisticated materials with advanced novel properties will be available in the future, they do not automatically match the requirements and demands of clinicians. The discussion is centerd around one example, multifunctional polyelectrolyte capsules, which might act as a 'nanosubmarine' for in vivo sensing and delivery, which is used to highlight promising interfaces between both disciplines.
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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.