Nano Medicine - Part 1

Saturday, January 13, 2007 Dr. Vishaal Bhat 0 Comments

Would it not be wonderful to detect and destroy the very first cancer cells that would otherwise cause a tumor to develop in the body? A broken part of a cell would be removed and be replaced with a miniature biological machine? Pumps of tree size of molecules could be implanted to deliver life saving medicines, precisely when and where they are needed? Such is the future prospectus for Nano Medicine.

Nano Medicine is an off shoot of nanotechnology, referring to highly specific medical intervention at the molecular levels for curing diseases, repairing damaged tissue, such as bone, muscle or nerve. This knowledge, will lead to the development of new tools that will work at ‘nanoscale’ levels and allow scientists to build synthetic biological devices such as tiny sensors to scan for the presence of infectious agents, or metabolic imbalance and to fix the broken parts in the cell.

Simply, nanotechnology is the space at the nanoscale i.e. one billionth of a meter, smaller than ‘micro’ one millionth of a meter and larger than ‘Pico’ one trillionth of a meter. Nano is a miniaturisation beyond micro. Transforming materials from micro level to nano level is referred to as ‘top down’. At the other extreme, where atoms and small molecules at the Pico level are constructed or assembled to the nano level, is referred to as ‘bottom- up’.