Nanotechnology in Medicine
As technology continues to advance and play a greater and greater role in modern society, what would be the conceivable next step in this technological evolution? This is the question that has many scientists and engineers scratching their heads. The answer is something so small that the human eye can’t see. The answer is nanotechnology. The development and implementation of nanotech is not just an idea or theory, it has become reality. Nanotechnology has enhanced the fields of science and medicine far beyond what we thought was possible. The use of nanotechnology in medicine is by far the most difficult to achieve as well as the most beneficial to the human being. Using nanotechnology in medicine, sickness and disease would be a thing of the past.
Nanotechnology in simple terms “is the engineering of functional systems at a molecular scale.” (Center for Responsible Nanotechnology) Nanotech could be used to create, destroy, repair, or break down pretty much anything made of anything. Nanobots can be made to be a self sustaining organism or a parasitic organism, using its host to keep it functioning.
The idea of nanotechnology in medicine, also called nanomedicine, is thought to be something out of science fiction, however today, it is coming true. Scientists and engineers today have been working on a better and more efficient way to further develop the field of medicine. Working within the human body is tricky, the complexity of the veins and arteries that carry cells and nutrients throughout the body, which is why nanomedicine seems very “science fictioney”. Because these pathways are so important to the functionality of the human body, when something goes wrong, such as disease or cancer, it would be ideal to find a way to heal the body much quicker and more effectively than on its own.
When our bodies need to heal, it produces antibodies to fight its battles. Sometimes though, these cells are not enough. That is where the introduction of nanobots enters the equation. These nanobots would be introduced into the bloodstream and would immediately start going to work. They would find the problem and fix it, remaining in the bloodstream and aiding the body whenever and wherever there is a problem. In doing so, this would allow doctors to explore and mend patients’ ailments with much greater insight and precision.
According to an article found in the Yale Scientific Magazine, Nanotechnology in medicine took its first steps in the 2001. It is stated that, “Given Imaging introduced the PillCam,” and that the PillCam, “is a capsule containing a light and camera that a patient swallows.” This was an idea to help with diagnostic purposes, in a way trying to replace endoscopy. However the pill was too big to travel through the veins and arteries. So, something much smaller would be needed to travel completely through the entire body using the cardiovascular system.
In order to explore the cardiovascular system, the nanobots would have to be the size of our own cells found in the body. The problem with such a small machine is the technology to produce it had not previously been available. Today’s technology, however, has allowed scientists and engineers start producing machines on the microscopic scale.
There have been a couple different theories on how creating some functioning machine could be possible. One that has been researched is the idea of using nature as an inspiration. Within nature there are many organisms that can enter and survive in the human body. A common example of these organisms would be bacteria. They are self sustaining and the size of a cell, which is why they may be the answer to becoming the perfect soldiers in helping to fight what most of them create. Another theory would be to create a microscopic machine that will enter the bloodstream, determine the problem, heal it, and exit the body when the job is finished and the life of the machine has ended. There are many other theories out there to go about creating nanobots to aid in the field of medicine, but these two theories as of now hold the most promise.
Using nanotechnology for real world applications is no longer an idea of the past, it has come to fruition and is now being researched and developed in the present and is in full swing to become the normal in the future. Nanotechnology in medicine or nanomedicine is the most important field of study in nanotechnology when it comes to human beings. Using the cardiovascular system, nanotechnology can help to heal the body and rid it of any diseases. With nanotechnology in medicine right around the corner, the world that we live in will become a much healthier environment to live in. Everyone around the planet will reap its rewards, no longer having to worry about the deadly diseases and cancers that plagued the past.