Molecular manufacturing MM will impact the practice of medicine in many ways. Medicine is highly complex, so it will take some time for the full benefits to be achieved, but many benefits will occur almost immediately. The tools of medicine will become cheaper and more powerful.
Diagnostics and Prevention Accurate and early diagnosis of disease remains one of the greatest challenges of modern medicine. As with any advance in diagnostics, the ultimate goal is to enable physicians to identify a disease as early as possible.
Nanotechnology is expected to make diagnosis possible at the cellular and even the sub-cellular level with enhanced imaging techniques and high-performance sensors. Cancer diagnostics More lives could be saved by early detection of cancer than by any form of treatment at advanced stages.
Circulating tumor cells CTCswhich are viable cells derived from tumors, are hypothesized to represent the origin of metastatic disease.
Nanotechnology can be used to develop devices that indicate when those markers appear in the body and that deliver agents to reverse premalignant changes or to kill those cells that have the potential to become malignant.
With increasing accuracy, liquid biopsies — where Term paper on nanotechnology are isolated from blood samples — are becoming a viable complement or even alternative to invasive biopsies of metastatic tumors.
CTCs are of great interest for evaluating cancer dissemination, predicting patient prognosis, and also for the evaluation of therapeutic treatments, representing a reliable potential alternative to invasive biopsies and subsequent proteomic and functional genetic analysis. Two examples of nanotechnology in this area: Others have used a nanosilicon platform to capture and release circulating tumor cells.
Schematic of the device for capture of cells spiked in blood.
In recent years, scientists have discovered that these nanocrystals can enable researchers to study cell processes at the level of a single molecule. This may significantly improve nanotechnology cancer diagnostics and treatment.
Fluorescent semiconductor quantum dots are proving to be extremely beneficial for medical applications, such as high-resolution cellular imaging. Point-of-care diagnostics Another major challenge of modern medicine is the detection of pathogens at the point-of-care POCparticularly in underprivileged areas.
Especially the early detection of foodborne pathogenic bacteria is critical for preventing disease outbreaks and preserving public health.
They are inadequate as they lack the ability to detect bacteria in real time. Possible nanotechnology solutions include a graphene-based wireless sensor that could make hour healthcare easier to achieve by enabling wireless monitoring of various biomedical events in order to gain a more comprehensive assessment of the wearer's healthcare status.
Other solutions include nanoparticles that can then selectively attach themselves to any number of food pathogens. Handheld sensors employing either infrared light or magnetic materials, could then note the presence of even minuscule traces of harmful pathogens.
The advantage of such a system is that literally hundreds and potentially thousands of nanoparticles can be placed on a single nanosensor to rapidly, accurately and affordably detect the presence of any number of different bacteria and pathogens.
A second advantage of nanosensors is that, given their small size, they can gain access into the tiny crevices where the pathogens often hide.
Schematics of fully passive, transparent, and conformal all-graphene harmonic sensor designed for various point-of-care monitoring and wireless biomedical sensing. The right panel illustrates an eye-wearable device smart contact lens based on the all-graphene harmonic sensor, which may detect in real time the pathogen, bacteria, glucose, and infectious keratitis.
Pai-Yen Chen's research group, Wayne State University click on image to enlarge In a clinical environment, recent achievements with nanosensor platforms demonstrate the enormous potential of fluorescent nanosensors for clinical applications requiring continuous in vivo monitoring of important biomarkers.
Such in vivo diagnostics and sensing can be accomplished, for instance, by utilizing a biocompatible hydrogel to encapsulate the fluorescent nanosensors and then implanting the encapsulated material subcutaneously to detect analyte concentrations in its vicinity see: The optical nature of this kind of detection scheme can provide real-time readout with high spatial and temporal resolution.
These platforms hold great promise as alternatives to conventional natural recognitions elements, both for diagnostics and for treatment purposes, to improve patient care.
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