6 Of The Best Applications Of Nanotechnology In Biology and Medicine
Nanotechnology is a word that is more frequently in use in medicine and surgery, as developers find new ways to use these particles to their benefit.
The problem is that some people aren’t too sure what to expect from this new technology, or what it does.
The following is a list of 6 of the most interesting developments in nanotechnology. They are all areas of interest in medical care and disease prevention, all of which have significant implications for the field.
With further research, they can all help with the effectiveness and efficiency of care and potentially save lives.
How Does It Work?
When we talk about nanotechnology, we are mainly talking about particles artificially developed on a microscopic scale. Many are spheres used to bind to living materials and cells for a medical purpose. Others are hollow capsules containing other materials that act as a delivery system.
This is often the case for dyes and the direct transportation of drugs. The main particles are often covered in protective materials like silica to keep them intact until delivery.
These layers are then absorbed, and the particle can do its job. These particles, therefore, have many potential applications in medicine, surgery, and other commercial practices.
6 of the most interesting applications of nanotechnology.
1) Protein Detection
There are a few microscopic tools in protein detection using gold particles and dyes. These particles can bind to the offending cells and show up in scans or with cameras. The problem is that they can often be limited in their efficiency.
Nanotechnology can take this to a new level with nanoprobes that target the proteins more accurately, dispersing gold, dyes and perhaps both. This may sound like science fiction to some, with some curiosity about the practical implications.
However, the actual benefit of these new approaches is clear with the next development.
2) Cancer Therapy
One of the most interesting uses of nanotechnology for many that are new to the science is cancer therapy. There are many new developments in screening and treatment options for colon and prostate cancer that include nanotechnology.
The aim is to enhance the potential of photodynamic cancer therapy by highlighting the cells to be then targeted by the lasers. The more accurate the detection rate, the more effective the treatment.
Nanotechnology can increase the chances of dyes and gold particles reaching the cancer cell. This means greater detection rates, that makes it easy to catch the problem and treat it faster. This could help to reduce prostate and colon cancer mortality rates.
3) Tissue Engineering
Then there is the interesting development of tissue engineering. At the moment, one of the main developments here is in the use of artificial implants. This includes new joints, plates to replace broken bones and other structural work following accidents.
The problem with current materials, such as titanium, is that the body can easily reject them as foreign objects.
A recent discovery showed that nanoparticle tissue engineering could create a new tissue surface that would allow the new “bone” and tissues to fuse. This surface could also allow for a porous structure that would allow for nutrients to pass through.
With further development in this area, this could have important implications in transplants and plastic surgery.
4) Multicolor Optical Coding
Color coding is an important part of genetics when determining a sequence. It provides a visual map of genes and proteins that makes it much easier to identify sequences, defects, and anomalies.
The problem with the old system of dyes is that there were only so many colors to use in a series. The development of nanotechnology and colored particles has changed that. This new system uses a series of the compound semiconductor to manipulate more freely and combine to form new patterns and colors.
There are even fluorescent options available for a different tone and level of visibility. Recent studies showed a range of colors and intensities that allowed for more than a million coding combinations. This means a bead identification accuracy of 99..99%.
5) Cell Manipulation
The beauty of a human-made nanoparticle is that they are now crafted from materials best suited to the job, with the right properties. Some use capsules to transport and disperse items to a particular area of the body. Others use magnetism to use those particles to manipulate the shape of cells.
The impact of the particles and the magnetic force can be fine-tuned using different ranges and thickness of metal. It is not just the biological cells under manipulation here but the technology itself. It is adaptive and mobile.
This is ideal for dealing with issues case by case, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach to health care. This is clearly an area with room for further improvement and we are probably yet to see the full implications.
6) Commercial Exploration
The current state of nanotechnology means that our current understanding can take developers into many different areas. One thing to note is that nanotechnology is not all about medicine and drug delivery – although this is the main focus for many developers.
There are commercial endeavors – some related to medical care and others less so – where nanotechnology can be of use. One is the creation of band aids and dressings with nanoparticles of silver and other antimicrobial elements.
Others want to explore the potential in the filtration systems with nano-ceramics and metals. Then there are those looking into hybrid bio-nanomaterials for electronics and optoelectronics.
The Future Of Nanotechnology
For many, nanotechnology is a wonderful window into the future of biomechanics and medicine. The nature of the science and the minute details mean that this seems like a technology that should be out of reach.
The truth is that the models described above are all functional and in continued development. This means that there is plenty of room for future ventures with drug delivery system and cell targeting to make them even more efficient and effective.
Also, there are hopes that these focused devices could become multi-functional with different processes and medical benefits. The world of nanotechnology in medicine is now open, and there is a lot more to learn.