Nanotechnology in Medicine, Nanoparticles in Medicine

The use of nanotechnology in medicine offers some exciting possibilities. Some techniques are only imagined, while others are at various stages of testing, or actually being used today.

The use of nanoparticles in medicine involves applications of nanoparticles currently under development, as well as longer range research that involves the use of manufactured nano-robots to make repairs at the cellular level (sometimes referred to as nanomedicine).

Whatever you call it, the use of nanotechnology in the field of medicine could revolutionize the way we detect and treat damage to the human body and disease in the future, and many techniques only imagined a few years ago are making remarkable progress towards becoming realities.

Applications of Nanotechnology in Medicine:

Drug Delivery

One application of nanoparticles in medicine currently being developed involves employing nanoparticles to deliver drugs, heat, light or other substances to specific types of cells (such as cancer cells). Particles are engineered so that they are attracted to diseased cells, which allows direct treatment of those cells. This technique reduces damage to healthy cells in the body and allows for earlier detection of disease.

For example researchers at North Carolina State University are developing a method to deliver cardiac stem cells to damaged heart tissue. They attach nanovesicles that are attracted to an injury to the stem cells to increase the amount of stem cells delivered to an injured tissue.

Read more about applications of nanoparticles in drug delivery.

Diagnostic Techniques

Researchers John Hopkins University are using nanoimprint lithography to manufacture a sensor that can detect covid-19 and other viruses that can be used with hand held testing device for quick reults.

Researchers at Worcester Polytechnic Institute are using antibodies attached to carbon nanotubes in chips to detect cancer cells in the blood stream. The researchers believe this method could be used in simple lab tests that could provide early detection of cancer cells in the bloodstream.

A test for early detection of kidney damage is being developed. The method uses gold nanorods functionalized to attach to the type of protein generated by damaged kidneys. When protein accumulates on the nanorod the color of the nanorod shifts. The test is designed to be done quickly and inexpensively for early detection of a problem.

Read more about application of nanotechnology to medical diagnostic techniques.

Antibacterial Treatments

Researchers at the University of Houston are developing a technique to kill bacteria using gold nanoparticles and infrared light. This method may lead to improved cleaning of instruments in hospital settings.

Researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder are investigating the use of quantum dots to treat antibiotic resistant infections.

Read more about application of nanoparticles in antibacterial treatments.

Wound Treatment

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin have demonstrated a bandage that applies electrical pulses to a wound using electricity produced by nanogenerators worn by the patient.

For trauma patients with internal bleeding another way to reduce the blood loss is needed. Researchers at Chase Western Reserve University are developing polymer nanoparticles that act as synthetic platelets. Lab tests have shown that injection of these synthetic platelets significantly reduces blood loss.

Read more about applications of nanotechnology in treatment of wounds.

Treatment of Diseases

Nanotechnology is being used to treat various diseases as dicussed on the following webpages:


Heart Disease


Kidney Disease

Applying Nanorobots in Medicine

Nanorobots could actually be programmed to repair specific diseased cells, functioning in a similar way to antibodies in our natural healing processes.  Read about design analysis for one such cell repair nanorobot in this article: The Ideal Gene Delivery Vector: Chromallocytes, Cell Repair Nanorobots for Chromosome Repair Therapy

Page 2: Nanomedicine based upon nano-robots

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