Nano Medicine - Part 2

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

Nano technology tools permit users to visualize and manipulate items at the nanoscale such as cells, bacteria and viruses. Raw nanomaterial can be used as biocompatible materials or coatings in drug encapsulation, bone replacement, prosthesis and implants. This fascinating nano technology envisages far reaching concepts, such as tiny robots called as nanorobots or nanobots, to be injected into the body to attack infections or undesirable cells, retinal implants, cochlear implants, smart instruments, tools for genetic testing or imaging devices. Drugs can be encapsulated, delivered, and after the drug arrives at its destination it can be released at an appropriate rate for it to be effective.

New generations of biocompatible nano materials can be used to repair or replace human tissue. Both soft tissue and hard tissues like bone or teeth can be healed. Nano polymers such as polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) can be used to coat areas in contact with blood such as heart, vascular grafts, for dispersing clots or preventing their formation. Nano structures are being researched to act as scaffolds for tissue repair and regeneration. High strength nano ceramic material in the form of flow able and moldable nano particle paste would help to inter digitate with bone, helping bone repair. Bio-reabsorb able materials and micro technologies are being developed to restore lost vision and hearing function. More over these devices collect and transform data into precise electrical signals that are delivered directly to the human nervous system. Operating tools, smart instruments can reduce the physically demanding procedures on both the surgeon & patients. Surgical systems are being developed to provide surgeons with unprecedented control over instruments and surgical procedures. Nano and micro technologies offer new imaging technologies that can provide high quality images not possible with current devices.

Acoustic signals could help to detect a cancer cell and further broad cast instructions to the cancer killer to attack. Also a very precise control over location of the cancer killer activities could be achieved. Poor blood flow caused by a variety of conditions can result in serious tissue damage. A major cause of tissue damage is inadequate oxygen. A simple method of improving the levels of available oxygen despite reduced blood flow would be to provide an artificial ‘red blood cell.’

Supply of artificial mitochondria, slowing or blocking deteriorative reactions or deliberately, turning off the metabolism of the cell to prevent further damage could be made possible. Autonomous molecular machine could be made to operate in the body and help to gather information of the changing conditions inside the body. Later these molecular machines could be filtered out of the blood supply and the stored information could be analyzed to provide picture and information of the activities within healthy or injured tissue, aiding medical research.

Nano technology, “the technology of the 21st century” is gradually walking into our lives. “When might we see these systems actually used? It is predicted by the researchers in the field that the molecular manufacturing will begin by 2020 and some additional time will be needed for its application.

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