Chapter 7 : Nanotechnology and Medicine
Nano Medicine is the monitoring, repair, construction, and control of human biological systems at the molecular level using engineered nano devices and nano structures.
Nano medicine is used at the molecular level for curing disease or repairing damaged tissues.
Nano Medicine is the medical application of nanotechnology.
The application of nanotechnology in the field of medical science has come under great attention in recent times.
There are many treatments today that take a lot of time and are expensive too.
Using nanotechnology, quicker and much cheaper treatments can be developed.
Topics covered in this snack-sized chapter:
Nanobots and its uses
Nano Robotics is the technology of creating machines or robots called nanobot at or close to the microscopic scale of nanometers.
Nanobot can be used very effectively for drug delivery.
Before reaching the disease affected area, drug circulates in the entire body.
Using nanotechnology, we can use targeted drug to a precise location, which makes the drug more effective and reduces chances of side effects.
The figure below shows nanobot monitoring the sugar level in blood:
Drug delivery procedure
Drug carriers are injected near the diseased cells.
Mostly drug carriers are in m to nm scale.
Carriers functionalized with molecules specific to the receptors expressed on diseased cells.
Leads to very high specificity and low drug toxicity.
Disease diagnosis and prevention
Diagnosis and Imaging
Nano biotech scientists have successfully produced microchips that are coated with human molecule.
The chip is designed to emit an electrical impulse signal when the molecules detect signs of disease.
Special sensor nanobot can be inserted into the blood under the skin where they check blood contents and warn of any possible disease.
Quantum dots are nanomaterial (tiny droplet of free electrons) that glows with different hue that varies according to its size, when exposed to ultraviolet light.
Quantum dots are coated with different materials that will adhere to the surface of the materials.
The coated dots will then be injected into the cells grown in the petri dishes.
The dots will adhere to the materials and upon exposure to ultraviolet light, the dots with attached materials will glow.
The figure below shows quantum dots glowing with different hues when exposed to ultraviolet light:
Nanotube plays a vital role in blood testing.
Nanotubes can easily be packed in a hair like capsule of the size of a splinter.
This capsule can be painlessly implanted under the skin.
Infrared light is then shined at the place of the implant.
A small handheld device is used to measure the intensity of the glow which is directly related to the amount of sugar in the blood.
Heart-attacks are caused by fat deposits blocking the blood vessels.
Nanobot can be made for removing these fat deposits.
The figure below shows nanobot removing the yellow fat deposits on the inner side of the blood vessels.
Nano materials have also been investigated into treating cancer.
The therapy is based on “cooking tumors” principle.
Iron nanoparticles are taken as oral pills. They attach to the tumor, and then a magnetic field is applied. This causes the nanoparticles to heat up and exactly cook the tumors from inside out.