NANOTECHNOLOGY AS AN ADVANCING SCIENCE IN THE MEDICAL FIELD
Before moving onto the meaning and scope of nanotechnology in medicines, let us first consider a few words of wisdom from the renowned scientists about technology, in particular, nanotechnology.
Claude Levi Strauss referring to technology, said that:
“This world started itself without man,
and one day it will end itself without him.”
According to Winfred Phillips:
“Man should be able to analyze and handle
smaller things in a better way those not
done before it”
Despite these scientists, many researchers believed that nanotechnology will rule the scientific world in future scientific studies. Also, it will be based on nano-principles, which we will discuss later in the article.
What is Nanotechnology?
The term “nano” basically belongs to a nano or micrometer, which is about one-thousand millionth part of a meter(10^-9). First of all, an American theoretical physicist Richard P. Feynman, who passed away in 1988, introduced this concept in 1959. So he proposed that we can use nanotechnology to prepare tools at the atomic level. Also, he added that this is “an advancement which I think we cannot avoid.”
What Nanotechnology can offer?
Nanotechnology can produce a wide variety of microscopic instruments, such as:
- Lastly, Nanomachines
But the list doesn’t end here.
For instance, this field of science helps in diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of diseases. Moreover, it plays a role in pain relief in case of traumatic injury and improved human health with genetic engineering and biotechnology at the nanoscale, for instance, nanocarbon tubes, dendrimers, and magnetic nanoparticles.
The primary application of nanotechnology is in the diagnosis of diseases, is using nanodevices at the molecular and cellular levels. For this purpose, selective nanodevices prepared from specific human tissue samples can increase diagnostics’ efficiency and reliability. So this will in-turn used to conduct multiple in-vitro diagnosis analyses. However, for in-vivo diagnosis, nanomedicines may develop nanodevices capable of working into the body of humans. Hence, this could possibly pinpoint the initial existence of malady and diagnose tumor cells’ stage and quantity of toxic molecules.
Use of Nanotechnology in Medicines
There are several ways in which we can use nanotechnology to prepare medicines. However, below are its two critical applications:
1. Carbon Nanotubes
1. CARBON NANOTUBES
Carbon Nanotubes are one of the novel drug delivery systems for anticancer therapy. These are a giant hexagonal sp^2 hybridized cylindrical carbon atoms, and are of two types:
1- Single-Walled Carbon Nano Tubes (SWCNTs)
2- Multi-Walled Carbon Nano Tubes (MWCNTs)
|Single-Walled Carbon Nano Tubes||Multi-Walled Carbon Nano Tubes|
|SWCNTs are made by rolling up single sheets of graphene.||MWCNTs are made by stacking multiple layers of SWCNTs.|
|The thickness of SWCNTs is about 0.6-2.4nm||The thickness of MWCNTs is about 0.34nm|
Significance of Carbon Nanotubes in the Medical Field:
The three significant properties which are crucial for the medical field, are:
1. First, its smaller size
2. Second, its higher surface area to volume ratio
3. Third, the chemical composition
- Carbon nanotubes arrange in such a way that they can pass through tiny holes in tumors and DNA. Also, their large surface to volume ratio can judge the efficient transport and chemical reactions.
- Furthermore, the requirement of significantly less concentration of total drug without any solvent and probability of toxin transfer to nearby areas of the target is lower.
- One more exciting advantage of using this application of nanotechnology in medicine is that we can attach multiple drugs at a time for various purposes such as diagnosis, detection, target approach, and crossing barrier.
The second primary application of nanotechnology applied in the medical field is dendrimers.
The Cascades of polymers belonging to hyperbranched
polymers are called dendrimers.
Having said that, we say the molecular structure of dendrimers exists in semi-globular to globular systems. However, the typical composition of dendrimers comprises of three parts:
- First, a central core
2. Second, building blocks in interior layers
3. Third, multiple functional groups at peripheral regions
DENDRIMERS AS A DRUG DELIVERY SYSTEM
Dendrimers are an excellent source of drug delivery as nanomedicines because of their structure and size. Moreover, the terminal functional groups are attached to some active molecules which help in the oral drug delivery system.
- We classify Dendrimers as per their size and surface chemistry. Having said that, dendrimers of small size are for the determination of epidermal penetration for applications of nanomedicine.
- Also, their active surface chemistry helps in non-epidermal penetration and topical microbial detection for better drug delivery at the target site.
- Furthermore, the dendrimer surface chemistry is polyvalent and can be used in targeting, imaging, therapy, and bio-compatibility simultaneously in a single nanoparticle. Thus, with this property of attaching linker groups, the in-vivo studies of cancer cells became easy as we can quickly locate tumor cells inside the body.
- Lastly, with the real-time studies, we can diagnose the stage as well as malignancy of the tumor.
THE FUTURE OF MEDICINAL NANOTECHNOLOGY
As per the discussion above, we can say that nanotechnology will program advances in medicine soon and will be able to provide medications in the form of nanocoatings.
- One of its benefits will be that we will help treat asthma by preparing such inhalants, which give them more extended relief from symptoms.
- Secondly, the use of Nanosensors. Nanosensors for military usage are for detecting airborne rogue agents and chemical weapons to detect drugs and other substances while exhaling. The detection of many abusive medications like alcohol concentration, athletes’ testing, and treatment mechanisms reduces breathing problems.
- Finally, the use of Nanorobots. A surgical nanorobot introduced in the patient’s body through the vascular system for diagnostic purposes such as pathological studies and removing lesions through ultrasound signals.
Researchers are introducing medicines as microscopic entities like nano assemblers to destroy bacterial or viral infections, detect tumor agents, and repair dental health.
For this purpose, different techniques, such as nanometers and nanotubes, can be used for targeted drug delivery systems. So that will be able to reduce the effect of toxic and harmful drugs on other cells and lower the risk of developing a tumor or carcinogenic entity.
BY MAHNOOR ATEQUAD