Nanomedicine is simply a branch of medicine that involves the knowledge as well as nanotechnology tools.
It is used for the treatment and prevent of diseases.
It can be used in various applications such as in biosensors, diagnostic devices, tissue engineering. In addition, Nanomedicine involves using nanoscale-materials like biocompatible nanoparticles as well as nanorobots for purposes of diagnosis, delivery, actuation or rather sensing purposes in a living organism.
Therefore, we can define Nanomedicine as an application of nanomaterials or rather nanoparticles for medicine.
Whereby, nanoparticles acts as a form of transport-for drugs thus can go places onto which drugs would not be able to-go on their own,
Often, nanoparticles are engineered and designed-to package as well as transport drugs directly onto where they are needed. The approach is used to ensure that the drugs causes most-harm in the particular as well as intended area of the tumor-cancer in which they are delivered to and in-turn reduces collateral damages to the
surrounding healthy tissues as well as the side-effects.
Introduction to Nanomedicine
According to the recent study of people treated-for cancer as children in the US from the 1970s-1999; it was found that despite the fact there has been an increase in the survival rates over the years, it was surprising that the cancer survivors lives a low quality life which was more worse for those treated in the 1990s.
In addition, on average, 70 percent of childhood cancer-survivors experience various side-effects from their treatments that include secondary cancers though the survival rates has improve and the population of childhood-cancer survivors continues to grow world-wide.
Apparently, these side-effects cause stress for survivors as well as to their families and in-turn increase demand on health-system, Thanks to the introduction of a new area of medicine-nanomedicine; it has brought hope for better cancer treatment for
children with fewer side-effects as well as improved quality of life that is,
for cancer survivors,
The Beginning of Nanomedicine…
The first cancer-nanomedice known as Doxil was approved by the US-Food & Drug Administration in 1995.
This drug has been use for treating adult cancers such
- Multiple Myelma
- Ovarian cancer
- Karposi’s sarcoma; a rare cancer
that tend to affect individuals with immune deficiency like HIV and Aids.
Today, there are various new nanomedicine treatments for adult-cancers on the market.
However, a limited number of such medications have been approved to be
effective for children’s cancers.
How Nanomedicine works
The nanoparticle drug-delivery systems often work in different ways. Apart from
carrying the drugs-for delivery, these nanoparticles can also be engineered to
carry a certain compound that will enable them attach or even bind to molecules
that are on tumor cells. Hence, once they are attached, the nanoparticles can
safely deliver the drugs onto the specific tumor-site.
In addition, Nanoparticles can help with drug solubility. In that, for a certain
drug to work, it is necessary for the drug to enter the bloodstream thus it
means that it has to be soluble. However, there are certain drugs that are
insoluble such as the cancer drug-paclitaxed (Taxol) thus for such drugs to
work properly, they have to-be dissolved in a delivery-agent to ensure that they
get into the blood though this agents can sometimes cause allergic-reactions in
To avoid such allergic reactions when using delivery agents for insoluble drugs,
chemists come up with a nanoparticle from a naturally occurring protein
albumin. This nanoparticle carries the paclitaxel or even other insoluble drugs
and makes them soluble though with no allergic reactions.
When it comes to cancer treatment; often tumors have disordered as well as leaking
blood vessels sprouting through-and-off them. On instances, these vessels allow
chemotherapy-drugs to enter the tumour readily but since the chemotherapy
molecules tend to be so small, they as well diffuse through these same vessels
as well as out of the tumor whereby, attacking surrounding tissues.
Henceforth, since nanoparticles have larger molecules, they get trapped inside the cancer tumor in which they help kill the cancer cells effectively. After they have
deliver the drug-cargo into the cells, these nanoparticles can be designed in
such a way that they can break-down into harmless by-products which can be
important especially for children since they are still developing.
Types of Nanoparticles
There are various types of nanoparticles though they vary in characteristics(structure) such as shape and size though an array of nanoparticle-structures are still being engineered and they include:
1.Shape of a DNA-origami
They tend not to be seen by the immune system as foreign body making it easier for them to transport drugs to diseased cells as they evade the immune system of the body thus reducing the drugs’ side-effects.
2. Polymeric nanocarriers
Doctors combine a nanomedicine-polymeric nanocarrier with a drug which silences the cancer gene to deliver the drugs to the cancer-tumor. In-turn, these drugs limits the expression of the cancer-gene, blocks tumor growth as well as reduces the spread of cancer.
Applications of Nanomedicine
1. For cancer treatment
Nanoparticlees have large molecules hence this allows for various functional groups to be binded or attached to a nanoparticle that in-turn seek-out and bind to specific
tumor cells. to sum it up, based on the small-size of the nanoparticles 910-100nanometer), it enable them to accumulate at tumor sites preferentially since tumors lack an effective lymphatic-drainage system.
In reference to the shortcomings of conventional cancer chemotherapy such as drug resistance,
lack of solubility as well as lack of selectivity; with nanoparticles, all
these problems are solved. Through the use of nanoparticles, doctors can now
direct the chemotherapy to the-tumor area or site and minimize exposure
directed to the rest of patient’s body thus reduce side-effects and maximizes
effectiveness of the drug in use.
In addition, with nanotechnology, we can reduce the frequency in which we often take our drugs. On instances, our body can quickly as well as effectively remove
medications out of our system thus reducing the drug’s duration of action and
limiting the effectiveness of the drugs.
In the area of “In ViVo imaging”, you can use nanoparticles contrast agents to clear out and improve contrast on images in ultrasound and MRI. When it comes to cardiovascular imaging, nanoparticles can be of great use since they have potential to enhance visualization of blood-pooling, angiogenesis, ischemia, atherosclerosis as well as focal areas in which inflammations are present.
Based on the unique property of nanoparticles; it’s small size molecules entails quantum dots-size-tunable light emission that when used in-conjunction with MRI produces exceptional images of tumor-sites. The nanoparticles-quantum dots tend to glow when they are exposed to ultraviolet-light enabling the surgeon to see the glowing-tumor as well as use it to accurately remove the tumor.
Gold nanoparticles 9often tagged with short-segments of DNA) can be used to detect genetic-sequence in a sample. In addition, Sensor test-chips that contain thousands of nanowires can be used to detect proteins as well as other biomarkers that are left-behind by cancer cells. It can greatly help in detection as well as diagnosis of cancer while in the early stages basically from a few blood drops of a patent.
4. Blood purification
Magnetic micro-particles has been used in separating cells and proteins from complex media. This technology is known as Magnetic-activated cell sorting or rather Dynabeads. The purification-process is based on functionalized iron-oxide or rather carbon coated-metal nanoparticles that have ferromagnetic properties.
The binding-agents are like antibodies, proteins.
Antibiotics or rather synthetic ligands are linked covalently to the particle
The binding agent interacts with the target species in which they form agglomerate. By applying an external magnetic-field gradient, it allows exerting a force onto the nanoparticles thus the particles are separated from the heavy fluid hence cleaning it from the-contaminants.
Due to the small size as well as large surface area of the nanomagnets, It makes it to have more advantageous properties as compared to hemoperfusion-a clinically used-technique for blood purification that is based on surface-absorption. The amazing properties of nanomagnetic are high-loading as well as accessible for binding agents; fast diffusion; high-selective towards the target compound; involves small hydrodynamic resistance as well as uses low dosage.
With this approach, doctos can treat various systemic infections like sepsis by just directly removing the pathogen. In addition, it can be used to remove endotoxins or even cytokines selectively, for compounds’ dialysis that isn’t accessible by traditional-dialysis methods.
5. Tissue engineering
Lastly, Nanotechnology can also be used for tissue engineering to help repair or reproduce or rather reshape damage tissue by using suitable nanomaterials though based on scaffolds as well as growth factors.
Nanoparticles such as carbon nanotubes, grapheme, tungsten disulfide as well as molybdenum disulfide has been used as reinforcing-agents to mechanically fabricate strong biodegradable-polymeric nanocomposites for bone-tissue engineering applications.