Nanotechnology in Medical Therapy

Researchers are developing nanomedicine therapy techniques to direct treatment directly to diseased cells, minimizing the damage to healthy tissue that occur in current methods such as radiation therapy cause. 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.

Some nanomedicine therapy techniques are only imagined, while others are at various stages of testing, or actually being used today. The following survey of nanomedicine therapy applications introduces many of these techniques.

A survey of nanotechnology therapy techniques:

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.

Researchers have developed "nanosponges" that absorb toxins and remove them from the bloodstream. The nanosponges are polymer nanoparticles coated with a red blood cell membrane. The red blood cell membrane allows the nanosponges to travel freely in the bloodstream and attract the toxins.

Nanoparticles composed of polyethylene glycol-hydrophilic carbon clusters (PEG-HCC) have been shown to absorb free radicals at a much higher rate than the proteins out body uses for this function. This ability to absorb free radicals may reduce the harm that is caused by the release of free radicals after a brain injury.

Nanofibers can stimulate the production of cartilage in damaged joints. Three different approaches to the use of nanofibers to stimulate cartilage are being taken by researchers at John Hopkins University, at Northwestern University and at the University of Pennsylvania.

Researchers have found that aluminosilicate nanoparticles can reduce bleeding in trauma patients with external wounds by activating the blood clotting mechanism, causing blood in a wound to clot quickly. Z-Medica is producing a medical gauze that uses aluminosilicate nanoparticles for use on external wounds. 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.

Buckyballs may be used to trap free radicals generated during an allergic reaction and block the inflammation that results from an allergic reaction.

A method to regrow the pulp inside teeth, allowing the tissue inside decayed teeth to be regenerated is being developed. The method uses nanofibers that self assemble into a scaffold which is seeded with stem cells. The stem cells stimulate the growth of new tissue while the scaffold provides a framework for the tissue to grow on.

A  nanoparticle cream that releases nitric oxide gas to fight staph infections.


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