Applications of nanomedicine

From Aging Chart
Jump to: navigation, search

This is a graph with borders and nodes. Maybe there is an Imagemap used so the nodes may be linking to some Pages.

Applications of nanomedicine

Nanotechnology encompasses the process of constructing and manipulating materials on a near-atomic scale, at dimensions in the nanometer range. Nanomedicine includes nanoparticles that act as biological mimetics (e.g., functionalized carbon nanotubes), “nanomachines” (e.g., those made from interchangeable DNA parts and DNA scaffolds such as octahedron and stick cube), nanofibers and polymeric nanoconstructs as biomaterials (e.g., molecular selfassembly and nanofibers of peptides and peptide-amphiphiles for tissue engineering, shape-memory polymers as molecular switches, nanoporous membranes), and nanoscale microfabrication-based devices (e.g., silicon microchips for drug release and micromachined hollow needles and two-dimensional needle arrays from single crystal silicon), sensors and laboratory diagnostics. Furthermore, there is a vast array of intriguing nanoscale particulate technologies capable of targeting different cells and extracellular elements in the body to deliver drugs, genetic materials, and diagnostic agents specifically to these locations.

One of the simplest medical nanomaterials is a surface perforated with holes, or nanopores. These pores are large enough to allow small molecules such as oxygen, glucose, and insulin to pass but are small enough to impede the passage of much larger immune system molecules such as immunoglobulins and graft-borne virus particles. Behind this artificial barrier, immunoisolated encapsulated rat pancreatic cells may receive nutrients and remain healthy for weeks, secreting insulin through the pores while remaining hidden from the immune system, which would normally attack and reject the foreign cells.

Cerium is a rare-earth element of the lanthanide series, and its oxides have a fluorite lattice structure. At the nanometer scale, the free radical scavenging properties of cerium oxide are even further enhanced, because of the dramatic increase in surface area. Oxygen vacancies, and their potential for interactions with free radicals, form more readily at the nanoscale. Further, as the size of the cerium oxide nanoparticle decreases, there is a concomitant increase in the amount of Ce3+, which may further enhance reducing power. The radical scavenging ability of cerium oxide appears to be dramatically increased during the reduction to the nanoscale. Cerium oxide nanoparticles may provide a future nanopharmacological approach to diseases associated with oxidative stress. Cerium oxide is a regenerative free radical scavenger. In cellular studies, one low dose maintained radical scavenging and protective effects for long durations and multiple insults, suggesting the possibility of regenerative activity.