Term:

Nanomedicines

Description:
Nanomedicine, by definition, is the use of nanotechnology for medical purposes. Nanotechnology, or nanotech for short, is the study of the control of molecular structures to create precise materials and devices (Nanotechnology). The field of nanotechnology evolved through molecular engineering. Nanotechnology focuses on the design and creation of devices within the atomic scale, usually no larger than 100 nanometers, which can perform a wide variety of tasks (Nanotechnology). In 2000, the United States National Nanotechnology Initiative was founded to coordinate Federal nanotechnology research and development. Since then, the field of molecular engineering has developed vastly. Scientists and researchers have been able to take the field in a direction that allows for the use of this technology in the human body. This was the birth of Nanomedicine. Nanomedicines are far more beneficial than modern medicine is today and will revolutionize the field of health care in the years to come. Modern medicine today does not help the human body heal faster; it merely allows the patient a more comfortable experience during their time of healing (Cell Repair Machines). With nanomedicines, we can accomplish a wide variety of tasks (including healing faster) that, with medicine today, would be impossible. Some of the uses of nanomedicines include, but are not limited to: drug delivery, fighting cancer, surgery, and cell repair machines.


Applications:


Drug delivery
With the use of nanorobots, robots created at the molecular level, we can deliver drugs, heat, light, etc. to specific cells in the body. This would improve the availability and potency of the drug as well as eliminate the unnecessary trip, exposed, in the blood stream. Nanorobots are actually small enough to travel in the blood stream, can contain the drugs within, and can be designed to be attracted to diseased cells where they will directly administer the drugs. With this technology in place, more potent drugs, that in the past may have been harmful to ingest or inject, can be planted in the body and then routed to the area of need.

Fighting cancer

Nanotechnology can be used in many different ways to aid the field of oncology. First, we can use quantum dots, combined with an MRI, to compose detailed images of cancer sites. Unlike expensive organic dyes, quantum dots are capable of emitting bright light once excited in order to fully map the location of a cancer site. Plus it is cheaper than the dyes. Or, we can use Kanzius RF therapy. It uses nanoparticles that attach themselves to the cancerous cells. The particles then emit radio waves in order to burn away the cancerous cells. This method has been used on mice with great results. Also, it does not harm the surrounding tissue. Finally, we can use the nanoparticles and nanorods to deliver cancer fighting drugs to the site of the tumor. For example, gold nanorods and attached DNA strands, which holds together the gold nanorods and the chemotherapy, are inserted into the body and then hit with an infrared light that causes the nanorod to heat up and release the drug.

Surgery

At Rice University, a flesh welder is used to fuse two pieces of chicken meat into a single piece (Nanomedicine). With the use of coated nanoshells, researchers have been able to fuse together tissue. This procedure can be useful during surgery in which immediate stitching is required in order to keep blood loss minimal. Since infrared lasers are used to heat the coated nanoshells that cause the fusion of the tissues, welding of the flesh can occur without the fear of burning the patient's organs.

Cell repair machines
Foreseeable developments include the use of synthetic growth factors and morphogens for inducing complex tissue regeneration, and even the introduction of novel genetic programs for reversing cellular and tissue injuries for which natural healing mechanisms do not exist (Cell Repair Machines). This new "ultimate medicine" will allow us to: modify cell DNA in sophisticated ways to achieve virtually any desired growth objectives, repair cellular injuries caused by the hours of absent blood flow, increase our physical strength hundreds of times, and theoretically expanding our lifespan to up to 600 years.minimal. Since infrared lasers are used to heat the coated nanoshells that cause the fusion, welding of the flesh can occur without the fear of burning the patients organs.


Therapy

Researchers have developed nanosponges. Nanosponges are designed to be coated in red blood cell membranes and then placed into the bloodstream where they will attract toxins and remove them. A therapy that is in development is through the use of heat. The idea is nanobots will be fitted to attract to a certain type of cancer cell. Infrared lights will then be aimed at and absorbed by the nanobots causing them to heat up and destroy the tumor. Universities, like John Hopkins, are also researching ways that nanofibers can be introduced into the body to help promote cartilage rebuilding.

Diagnostic

At MIT, a sensor, made out of nanotubes, has been developed that can be inserted under the skin of a patient and monitor levels of information, such as nitric oxide, in the blood stream. This development gives doctors an easier way of finding readings in the bloodstream. At the University of Michigan, sensors are being used to detect the smallest amount of cancer cells in small amounts of blood samples. Nanotubes, fit with nanoparticles, are then used to discover cancer cells and allow for early detection. The nanoparticles release peptides to mark the cancerous cells so that the cells can be easily detected.

Web Resources:

http://www.alcor.org/Library/html/cellrepairmachines.html (Cell Repair Machines)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nanotechnology (Nanotechnology)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nanomedicine (Nanomedicine)
http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/nanorobot.htm (How Nanorobots Will Work)
http://www.eng.uci.edu/events/2009/2/molecular-engineering-stem-cell-and-gene-therapeutics
http://www.zyvex.com/nano/
http://science.howstuffworks.com/nanotechnology.htm
http://www.pa.msu.edu/cmp/csc/nanotube.html
http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/print/1761
http://www.research.ibm.com/nanoscience/nanotubes.html
http://www.nano-shells.com/
http://www.alcor.org/Library/html/moleculartechnologycellrepairmachines.html
http://www.hhmi.org/news/alt2.html

Related Terminology:

Molecular Engineering
Nanotechnology
Nanotubes
Nanoshells
Cell Repair Machines
Nanobiopharmaceutics
Nanoparticles
Nanorobotics
Quantum Dot
Nanosponge
Nanofibers

Citations/References:

http://www.alcor.org/Library/html/cellrepairmachines.html (Cell Repair Machines)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nanotechnology (Nanotechnology)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nanomedicine (Nanomedicine)
http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/nanorobot.htm (How Nanorobots Will Work)
http://www.foresight.org/Nanomedicine/Gallery/index.html
http://www.understandingnano.com/medicine.html


Graphics:


Nanorobot.gifProbeArt2.jpg
Cancer_Fighting.jpg

Cell_Repair_Unit.gif