Application of nanotechnology in medicine

Most of us have seen at least one movie in which nanotechnology was used in one way or another, and most of us have thought “That’s cool!”, I certainly did. I saw it, and being a control freak that I am, thought it was a way to have total control over my body, something which bothered me then, and which still bothers me today. And while that was a child’s imagination, growing up I always looked up where that technology was at.

Drug delivery

One of the technologies being developed is drug delivery by drug delivery vehicles. It involves employing nano-vehicles in delivering drugs and other substances to specific cells. This allows effective targeting of affected areas and fewer side effects for patients, like damaged cells when treating cancer. For now, research has shown promising results in developing a treatment for glioblastoma, a type of brain cancer, other types of tumors, and delivering stem cells to damaged areas of the heart.

Diagnostics

One of the areas I am particularly interested in is using nanotechnology for diagnostics. One of the diagnostic techniques is using antibodies attached to carbon nanotubes to detect cancer cells in the bloodstream, another is using gold nanorods to attach to the type of protein generates by damaged kidneys, yet another is using nanometer-scale DNA “machine” to recognize a specific antibody.

Wound treatment

Using silver nanoparticles as an antibacterial agent, using gold nanoparticles and antioxidants to significantly accelerate wound healing. Bandages with nanogenerators that induce faster healing by sending electrical pulses. Aluminosilicate nanoparticles that promote healing by activating blood clotting mechanism and causing blood to clot quickly, are just some ways nanotechnology can help in wound treatment.

Blood purification

Using magnetic nanoparticles as instruments in the separation of cells and proteins from complex media. It was shown in animal models that it can be used for removal of various noxious compounds, such as toxins and pathogens. In contrast to dialysis, this type of purification allows targeting of specific substances. The purification process is based on functionalized iron oxide or carbon coated metal nanoparticles with ferromagnetic or superparamagnetic properties.

All of the above is just some of the many possible applications of nanotechnology in medicine and I can’t wait to find out what more can we do with such technology.