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Nanotechnology in Medicine – UnderstandingNano

Nanotechnology in medicine (sometimes referred to as nanomedicine)involves techniques already being used or currently under development, as well as longer range research into the use of manufactured nano-robots to make repairs at the cellular level .

Nanomedicine could revolutionize the way we detect and treat damage to the human body and disease.

Companies are developing customized nanoparticles that can deliver drugs directly to diseased cells. When perfected, this method should help avoid the damage treatments such as chemotherapy currently inflict on healthy cells. Other research includes supplying insulin without daily injections; curing viruses; delivering drugs directly to arterial stents to prevent blockage from reocurring; delivering drugs directly to arterial plaque; and even repairing damaged heart tissue.

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Researchers are developing nanomedicine therapy techniques to deliver treatments such as heat directly to diseased cells, minimizing the damage to healthy tissue that occurs when using radiation therapy or surgery. With targeted heat treatment nanoparticles are attracted by diseased cells and transform infared light into localized heat that destroys the targeted cells. Another method being developed generates sound waves that are powerful and tightly focused for noninvasive surgery. Other researchers are using nanofibers to stimulate the production of cartilage in damaged joints.

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Nanotechnology-based diagnosis techniques under development may provide two major advantages:

Read more about Nanotechnology in Medical Diagnostic Techniques

Resercher are attempting to use nanotechnology-based techniques to develop new methods for fighting bacterial infections. Nanoparticles can help fight Staph infections, burns, and other conditions eradicating or avoiding bacterial infection. It's possible that these nano-techniques could remove bacterial infection in minutes, rather than in weeks as is currently the case with antiobiotics.

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Nanotechnology in Medicine - UnderstandingNano

Nanomedicine – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Nanomedicine is the medical application of nanotechnology.[1] Nanomedicine ranges from the medical applications of nanomaterials, to nanoelectronic biosensors, and even possible future applications of molecular nanotechnology. Current problems for nanomedicine involve understanding the issues related to toxicity and environmental impact of nanoscale materials (materials whose structure is on the scale of nanometers, i.e. billionths of a meter).

Nanomedicine research is receiving funding from the US National Institutes of Health. Of note is the funding in 2005 of a five-year plan to set up four nanomedicine centers. In April 2006, the journal Nature Materials estimated that 130 nanotech-based drugs and delivery systems were being developed worldwide.[2]

The biological and medical research communities have exploited the unique properties of nanomaterials for various applications (e.g., contrast agents for cell imaging and therapeutics for treating cancer). Terms such as biomedical nanotechnology, nanobiotechnology, and nanomedicine are used to describe this hybrid field. Functionalities can be added to nanomaterials by interfacing them with biological molecules or structures. The size of nanomaterials is similar to that of most biological molecules and structures; therefore, nanomaterials can be useful for both in vivo and in vitro biomedical research and applications. Thus far, the integration of nanomaterials with biology has led to the development of diagnostic devices, contrast agents, analytical tools, physical therapy applications, and drug delivery vehicles.

Nanomedicine seeks to deliver a valuable set of research tools and clinically useful devices in the near future.[3][4] The National Nanotechnology Initiative expects new commercial applications in the pharmaceutical industry that may include advanced drug delivery systems, new therapies, and in vivo imaging.[5] Neuro-electronic interfaces and other nanoelectronics-based sensors are another active goal of research. Further down the line, the speculative field of molecular nanotechnology believes that cell repair machines could revolutionize medicine and the medical field.

Nanomedicine is a large industry, with nanomedicine sales reaching $6.8 billion in 2004, and with over 200 companies and 38 products worldwide, a minimum of $3.8 billion in nanotechnology R&D is being invested every year.[6] As the nanomedicine industry continues to grow, it is expected to have a significant impact on the economy.

Two forms of nanomedicine that have already been tested in mice and are awaiting human trials that will be using gold nanoshells to help diagnose and treat cancer,[7] and using liposomes as vaccine adjuvants and as vehicles for drug transport.[8][9] Similarly, drug detoxification is also another application for nanomedicine which has shown promising results in rats.[10] A benefit of using nanoscale for medical technologies is that smaller devices are less invasive and can possibly be implanted inside the body, plus biochemical reaction times are much shorter. These devices are faster and more sensitive than typical drug delivery.[11] Advances in Lipid nanotechnology was also instrumental in engineering medical nanodevices and novel drug delivery systems as well as in developing sensing applications.[12]

Nanotechnology has provided the possibility of delivering drugs to specific cells using nanoparticles. The overall drug consumption and side-effects may be lowered significantly by depositing the active agent in the morbid region only and in no higher dose than needed. This highly selective approach would reduce costs and human suffering. An example can be found in dendrimers and nanoporous materials. Another example is to use block co-polymers, which form micelles for drug encapsulation.[13] They could hold small drug molecules transporting them to the desired location. Another vision is based on small electromechanical systems; nanoelectromechanical systems are being investigated for the active release of drugs. Some potentially important applications include cancer treatment with iron nanoparticles or gold shells. Targeted drug delivery is intended to reduce the side effects of drugs with concomitant decreases in consumption and treatment expenses. The increased efficiency of delivery results in overall societal benefit by reducing the amount of drug needed in an equipotent preparation of said therapy, and thus reduced cost to the consumer.

Nanomedical approaches to drug delivery center on developing nanoscale particles or molecules to improve drug bioavailability. Bioavailability refers to the presence of drug molecules where they are needed in the body and where they will do the most good. Drug delivery focuses on maximizing bioavailability both at specific places in the body and over a period of time. This can potentially be achieved by molecular targeting by nanoengineered devices.[14][15] It is all about targeting the molecules and delivering drugs with cell precision. More than $65 billion are wasted each year due to poor bioavailability. In vivo imaging is another area where tools and devices are being developed. Using nanoparticle contrast agents, images such as ultrasound and MRI have a favorable distribution and improved contrast. The new methods of nanoengineered materials that are being developed might be effective in treating illnesses and diseases such as cancer. What nanoscientists will be able to achieve in the future is beyond current imagination. This might be accomplished by self assembled biocompatible nanodevices that will detect, evaluate, treat and report to the clinical doctor automatically.

Drug delivery systems, lipid- or polymer-based nanoparticles,[13] can be designed to improve the pharmacological and therapeutic properties of drugs.[16] The strength of drug delivery systems is their ability to alter the pharmacokinetics and biodistribution of the drug.[17][18] However, the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of nanomedicine is highly variable among different patients.[19] When designed to avoid the body's defence mechanisms,[20] nanoparticles have beneficial properties that can be used to improve drug delivery. Where larger particles would have been cleared from the body, cells take up these nanoparticles because of their size. Complex drug delivery mechanisms are being developed, including the ability to get drugs through cell membranes and into cell cytoplasm. Efficiency is important because many diseases depend upon processes within the cell and can only be impeded by drugs that make their way into the cell. Triggered response is one way for drug molecules to be used more efficiently. Drugs are placed in the body and only activate on encountering a particular signal. For example, a drug with poor solubility will be replaced by a drug delivery system where both hydrophilic and hydrophobic environments exist, improving the solubility.[21] Also, a drug may cause tissue damage, but with drug delivery, regulated drug release can eliminate the problem. If a drug is cleared too quickly from the body, this could force a patient to use high doses, but with drug delivery systems clearance can be reduced by altering the pharmacokinetics of the drug. Poor biodistribution is a problem that can affect normal tissues through widespread distribution, but the particulates from drug delivery systems lower the volume of distribution and reduce the effect on non-target tissue. Potential nanodrugs will work by very specific and well-understood mechanisms; one of the major impacts of nanotechnology and nanoscience will be in leading development of completely new drugs with more useful behavior and less side effects.

It is greatly observed that[who?] nanoparticles are promising tools for the advancement of drug delivery, medical imaging, and as diagnostic sensors. However, the biodistribution of these nanoparticles is still imperfect due to the complex host's reactions to nano- and microsized materials[14] and the difficulty in targeting specific organs in the body. Nevertheless, a lot of work is still ongoing to optimize and better understand the potential and limitations of nanoparticulate systems. For example, current research in the excretory systems of mice shows the ability of gold composites to selectively target certain organs based on their size and charge. These composites are encapsulated by a dendrimer and assigned a specific charge and size. Positively-charged gold nanoparticles were found to enter the kidneys while negatively-charged gold nanoparticles remained in the liver and spleen. It is suggested that the positive surface charge of the nanoparticle decreases the rate of opsonization of nanoparticles in the liver, thus affecting the excretory pathway. Even at a relatively small size of 5nm, though, these particles can become compartmentalized in the peripheral tissues, and will therefore accumulate in the body over time. While advancement of research proves that targeting and distribution can be augmented by nanoparticles, the dangers of nanotoxicity become an important next step in further understanding of their medical uses.[22]

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Nanomedicine - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Nanomedicine, bionanotechnology | NanomedicineCenter.com

A lot of patients suffering from colon cancer might well present no symptoms or signs during the earliest stages of the condition. When symptoms do eventually present, they can be many and varied, and can very much depend upon the size of the affliction, how far it has spread and also its actual location. It might be that some symptoms that present are as a result of a condition other than cancer itself, ranging from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and occasionally diverticulosis. Also, such problems as abdominal pain or swelling can be symptomatic of colon problems and may well require further investigation.

You may also notice that, upon going to the lavatory, you have some blood in your stools, and this can be a symptom of cancer. Of course, having black poop doesnt ultimately mean that cancer is present. It can, however, also be indicative of other conditions and problems. For example, the kind of bright red blood that you may see on your toilet tissue could be as a result of hemorrhoids or anal fissures. It should also be remembered that various food items can also result in red poop, and these include beetroot and red liquorice. Some medications can also be culprits, and some can also turn the stools black-including iron supplements. Irrespective, any sign of blood or change in your stools should prompt you to seek advice from your GP, as it is always best to be sure that it is not a sign of a more serious condition, and with any cancer,early detection and treatment is essential to a successful recovery.

You should also note-if you are currently concerned-any change in the regularity of your stools-including whether or not they are more thin or irregular than usual-especially over a period of several weeks. Also, be mindful if you have diarrhea for several days in a row or, conversely, constipation.

You might also experience pain in your lower abdomen-including a feeling of hardness. You may also experience persistent pain or discomfort in your abdominal region, and this can include wind and cramps. You may also get the sensation that, when evacuating your bowels, that the bowel doesnt empty fully. Another symptom that you might recognize is colored stool mainly black stool, but could be green stool too. Also, if you have an iron deficiency (or anemia), it may be an indication that there is bleeding in your colon. Also, as in most cases and types of cancer, you should seek medical advice immediately if you experience any sudden and unexpected or unexplained weight loss, as this is one of the principal red flags. Also be aware of more vague, seemingly incidental symptoms, such as fatigue. IF you have a couple of symptoms and also feel fatigued for days in a row inexplicably, then this is also another warning sign and you should seek medical advice. It is important not to panic, but just to be aware of what might be going on.

Remember, cases of colon cancer account for around 90% of all cases of intestinal cancers, and also account for more deaths every year of men and women from cancer. Early treatment is an absolute must.

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Nanomedicine, bionanotechnology | NanomedicineCenter.com

Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology and Medicine – Official Site

The mission of Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology, and Medicine (Nanomedicine: NBM) is to promote the emerging interdisciplinary field of nanomedicine.

Nanomedicine: NBM is an international, peer-reviewed journal presenting novel, significant, and interdisciplinary theoretical and experimental results related to nanoscience and nanotechnology in the life sciences. Content includes basic, translational, and clinical research addressing diagnosis, treatment, monitoring, prediction, and prevention of diseases. In addition to bimonthly issues, the journal website (http://www.nanomedjournal.com) also presents important nanomedicine-related information, such as future meetings, meeting summaries, funding opportunities, societal subjects, public health, and ethical issues of nanomedicine.

The potential scope of nanomedicine is broad, and we expect it to eventually involve all aspects of medicine. Sub-categories include synthesis, bioavailability, and biodistribution of nanomedicines; delivery, pharmacodynamics, and pharmacokinetics of nanomedicines; imaging; diagnostics; improved therapeutics; innovative biomaterials; interactions of nanomaterials with cells, tissues, and living organisms; regenerative medicine; public health; toxicology; point of care monitoring; nutrition; nanomedical devices; prosthetics; biomimetics; and bioinformatics.

Article formats include Communications, Original Articles, Reviews, Perspectives, Technical and Commercialization Notes, and Letters to the Editor. We invite authors to submit original manuscripts in these categories. The journal website (http://www.nanomedjournal.com) also presents important nanomedicine-related information, such as future meetings, meeting summaries, funding opportunities, societal subjects, public health, and ethical issues of nanomedicine.

The mission of Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology, and Medicine (Nanomedicine: NBM) is to promote the emerging interdisciplinary field of nanomedicine.

Nanomedicine: NBM is an international, peer-reviewed...

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Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology and Medicine - Official Site

Nanomedicine Fact Sheet

Nanomedicine Overview

What if doctors had tiny tools that could search out and destroy the very first cancer cells of a tumor developing in the body? What if a cell's broken part could be removed and replaced with a functioning miniature biological machine? Or what if molecule-sized pumps could be implanted in sick people to deliver life-saving medicines precisely where they are needed? These scenarios may sound unbelievable, but they are the ultimate goals of nanomedicine, a cutting-edge area of biomedical research that seeks to use nanotechnology tools to improve human health.

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A lot of things are small in today's high-tech world of biomedical tools and therapies. But when it comes to nanomedicine, researchers are talking very, very small. A nanometer is one-billionth of a meter, too small even to be seen with a conventional lab microscope.

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Nanotechnology is the broad scientific field that encompasses nanomedicine. It involves the creation and use of materials and devices at the level of molecules and atoms, which are the parts of matter that combine to make molecules. Non-medical applications of nanotechnology now under development include tiny semiconductor chips made out of strings of single molecules and miniature computers made out of DNA, the material of our genes. Federally supported research in this area, conducted under the rubric of the National Nanotechnology Initiative, is ongoing with coordinated support from several agencies.

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For hundreds of years, microscopes have offered scientists a window inside cells. Researchers have used ever more powerful visualization tools to extensively categorize the parts and sub-parts of cells in vivid detail. Yet, what scientists have not been able to do is to exhaustively inventory cells, cell parts, and molecules within cell parts to answer questions such as, "How many?" "How big?" and "How fast?" Obtaining thorough, reliable measures of quantity is the vital first step of nanomedicine.

As part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Common Fund [nihroadmap.nih.gov], the NIH [nih.gov] will establish a handful of nanomedicine centers. These centers will be staffed by a highly interdisciplinary scientific crew including biologists, physicians, mathematicians, engineers and computer scientists. Research conducted over the first few years will be spent gathering extensive information about how molecular machines are built. A key activity during this time will be the development of a new kind of vocabulary, or lexicon, to define biological parts and processes in engineering terms.

Once researchers have completely catalogued the interactions between and within molecules, they can begin to look for patterns and a higher order of connectedness than is possible to identify with current experimental methods. Mapping these networks and understanding how they change over time will be a crucial step toward helping scientists understand nature's rules of biological design. Understanding these rules will, in many years' time, enable researchers to use this information to address biological issues in unhealthy cells.

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Nanomedicine Fact Sheet

Nanotechnology and Medicine – Nanomedicine and Disease …

Nanotechnology refers to the use man-made of nano-sized (typically 1-100 billionths of a meter) particles for industrial or medical applications suited to their unique properties. Physical properties of known elements and materials can change as their surface to area ratio is dramatically increased, i.e. when nanoscale sizes are achieved. These changes do not take place when going from macro to micro scale. Changes in physical properties such as colloidal properties, solubility and catalytic capacity have been found very useful in areas of biotechnology, such as bioremediation and drug delivery.

The very different properties of the different types of nanoparticles have resulted in novel applications. For example, compounds known to be generally inert materials, may become catalysts. The extremely small size of nanoparticles allows them to penetrate cells and interact with cellular molecules. Nanoparticles often also have unique electrical properties and make excellent semiconductors and imaging agents. Because of these qualities, the science of nanotechnology has taken off in recent years, with testing and documentation of a broad spectrum of novel uses for nanoparticles, particularly in nanomedicine.

The development of nanotechnologies for nanomedical applications has become a priority of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Between 2004 and 2006, the NIH established a network of eight Nanomedicine Development Centers, as part of the NIH Nanomedicine Roadmap Initiative. In 2005, The National Cancer Institute (NCI) committed 144.3 million over 5 years for its Alliance for Nanotechnology in Cancer program which funds seven Centres of Excellence for Cancer Nanotechnology (Kim, 2007). The funding supports various research projects in areas of diagnostics, devices, biosensors, microfluidics and therapeutics.

Among the long term objectives of the NIH initiative are goals such as being able to use nanoparticles to seek out cancer cells before tumors grow, remove and/ or replace broken parts of cells or cell mechanisms with miniature, molecular-sized biological machines, and use similar machines as pumps or robots to deliver medicines when and where needed within the body. All of these ideas are feasible based on present technology. However, we dont know enough about the physical properties of intracellular structures and interactions between cells and nanoparticles, to currently reach all of these objectives. The primary goal of the NIH is to add to current knowledge of these interactions and cellular mechanisms, such that precisely-built nanoparticles can be integrated without adverse side-effects.

Many different types of nanoparticles currently being studied for applications in nanomedicine. They can be carbon-based skeletal-type structures, such as the fullerenes, or micelle-like, lipid-based liposomes, which are already in use for numerous applications in drug delivery and the cosmetic industry. Colloids, typically liposome nanoparticles, selected for their solubility and suspension properties are used in cosmetics, creams, protective coatings and stain-resistant clothing. Other examples of carbon-based nanoparticles are chitosan and alginate-based nanoparticles described in the literature for oral delivery of proteins, and various polymers under study for insulin delivery.

Additional nanoparticles can be made from metals and other inorganic materials, such as phosphates. Nanoparticle contrast agents are compounds that enhance MRI and ultrasound results in biomedical applications of in vivo imaging. These particles typically contain metals whose properties are dramatically altered at the nano-scale. Gold nanoshells are useful in the fight against cancer, particularly soft-tissue tumors, because of their ability to absorb radiation at certain wavelengths. Once the nanoshells enter tumor cells and radiation treatment is applied, they absorb the energy and heat up enough to kill the cancer cells. Positively-charged silver nanoparticles adsorb onto single-stranded DNA and are used for its detection. Many other tools and devices for in vivo imaging (fluorescence detection systems), and to improve contrast in ultrasound and MRI images, are being developed.

There are numerous examples of disease-fighting strategies in the literature, using nanoparticles. Often, particularly in the case of cancer therapies, drug delivery properties are combined with imaging technologies, so that cancer cells can be visually located while undergoing treatment. The predominant strategy is to target specific cells by linking antigens or other biosensors (e.g. RNA strands) to the surface of the nanoparticles that detect specialized properties of the cell walls. Once the target cell has been identified, the nanoparticles will adhere to the cell surface, or enter the cell, via a specially designed mechanism, and deliver its payload.

One the drug is delivered, if the nanoparticle is also an imaging agent, doctors can follow its progress and the distribution of the cancer cell is known. Such specific targeting and detection will aid in treating late-phase metastasized cancers and hard-to-reach tumors and give indications of the spread of those and other diseases. It also prolongs the life of certain drugs that have been found to last longer inside a nanoparticle than when the tumor was directly injected, since often drugs that have been injected into a tumor diffuse away before effectively killing the tumor cells.

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Nanotechnology and Medicine - Nanomedicine and Disease ...

Advances in nanotechnology’s fight against cancer

Dec. 19, 2013 As cancer maintains its standing as the second leading cause of death in the U.S., researchers have continued their quest for safer and more effective treatments. Among the most promising advances has been the rise of nanomedicine, the application of tiny materials and devices whose sizes are measured in the billionths of a meter to detect, diagnose and treat disease.

A new research review co-authored by a UCLA professor provides one of the most comprehensive assessments to date of research on nanomedicine-based approaches to treating cancer and offers insight into how researchers can best position nanomedicine-based cancer treatments for FDA approval.

The article, by Dean Ho, professor of oral biology and medicine at the UCLA School of Dentistry, and Edward Chow, assistant professor at the Cancer Science Institute of Singapore and the National University of Singapore, was published online by the peer-reviewed journal Science Translational Medicine. Ho and Chow describe the paths that nanotechnology-enabled therapies could take -- and the regulatory and funding obstacles they could encounter -- as they progress through safety and efficacy studies.

"Manufacturing, safety and toxicity studies that will be accepted by the Food and Drug Administration before clinical studies are just some of the considerations that continue to be addressed by the nanomedicine field," said Chow, the paper's co-corresponding author.

Compared with other available therapies, nanomedicine has proven to be especially promising in fighting cancer. In preclinical trials, nanomaterials have produced safer and more effective imaging and drug delivery, and they have enabled researchers to precisely target tumors while sparing patients' healthy tissue. In addition, nanotechnology has significantly improved the sensitivity of magnetic resonance imaging, making hard-to-find cancers easier to detect.

"A broad spectrum of innovative vehicles is being developed by the cancer nanomedicine community for targeted drug delivery and imaging systems," said Dr. Ho, the paper's corresponding author and co-director of the Jane and Jerry Weintraub Center for Reconstructive Biotechnology at the UCLA School of Dentistry. "It is important to address regulatory issues, overcome manufacturing challenges and outline a strategy for implementing nanomedicine therapies -- both individually and in combination -- to help achieve widespread acceptance for the clinical use of cancer nanomedicine."

Ho's team previously pioneered the development of a nanodiamond-doxorubicin compound named NDX. In preclinical studies conducted with Chow, NDX was found to be safer and more effective than unmodified doxorubicin, a clinical standard, for treating breast, liver and other cancer models.

Ho and Chow's new report features multiple studies in which the use of nanoparticles was translated from the preclinical to the clinical stage. In several of the highlighted studies, nanotechnology-modified drugs showed improvements over conventional, drug-only approaches because of their ability to overcome drug resistance (which occurs when tumors reject the drug and stop responding to treatment), to more effective tumor reduction, among other advantages.

The authors also describe how algorithm-based methods that rapidly determine the best drug combinations, and computation-based methods that draw information from databases of drug interactions and side effects, to help rationally design drug combinations could potentially be paired with nanomedicine to deliver multiple nano-therapies together to further improve the potency and safety of cancer treatments.

"This research review by Dr. Ho and his colleagues lays the groundwork for nanomedicine to become a widely accepted cancer therapy," said Dr. No-Hee Park, dean of the UCLA School of Dentistry. "This blueprint for navigating the process from bench research to mainstream clinical use is invaluable to the nanotechnology community."

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Advances in nanotechnology's fight against cancer


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