The State of Nanomedicine

Market research organizations and business analysts are starting to write about the state and prospects of nanomedicine. One such report is summarized at Medical News Today:

Nanotechnology is the creation and utilization of materials, devices, and systems through the control of matter on the nanometer-length scale (a nanometer is one billionth of a meter. Nanobiotechnology, an integration of physical sciences, molecular engineering, biology, chemistry and biotechnology holds considerable promise of advances in pharmaceuticals and healthcare.

As I previously noted, improvements in diagnostic technology resulting from nanoscale manufacturing would seem to be the first up to bat. Thus, diagnostics and nanoscale materials science are the principle industry focus at this time.

Some of the earliest applications are in molecular diagnostics. Nanoparticles, particularly quantum dots, are playing important roles. In vitro diagnostics, does not have any of the safety concerns associated with the fate of nanoparticles introduced into the human body.

Numerous nanodevices and nanosystems for sequencing single molecules of DNA are feasible. Various nanodiagnostics that have been reviewed will improve the sensitivity and extend the present limits of molecular diagnostics.

An increasing use of nanobiotechnology by the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries is anticipated. Nanotechnology will be applied at all stages of drug development - from formulations for optimal delivery to diagnostic applications in clinical trials.

Many of the assays based on nanobiotechnology will enable high- throughput screening. Some of nanostructures such as fullerenes are themselves drug candidates as they allow precise grafting of active chemical groups in three-dimensional orientations.

The really impressive nanomedicine will take much more time, research, and resources. I don't expect to be personally making use of fully functioning medical nanorobots for another two to three decades, for example.

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