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NANOTECHNOLOGY AND ITS APPLICATIONS IN MEDICINE

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Nanotechnology is the study of extremely small structures, having size of 0.1 to 100 nm. Nano medicine is a relatively new field of science and technology. Brief explanation of various types of pharmaceutical nano systems is given. Classification of nano materials based on their dimensions is given.

Nano materials have increased surface area and nano scale effects, hence used as a promising tool for the advancement of drug and gene delivery, biomedical imaging and diagnostic biosensors. Nano materials have unique physicochemical and biological properties as compared to their larger counterparts. The properties of nano materials can greatly influence their interactions with bio molecules and cells, due to their peculiar size, shape, chemical composition, surface structure, charge, solubility and agglomeration.

 

Cancer

Due to the small size of nano particles can be of great use in oncology, particularly in imaging. Nano particles, such as quantum dots, with quantum confinement properties, such as size-tunable light emission, can be used in conjunction with magnetic resonance imaging, to produce exceptional images of tumor sites. As compared to organic dyes, nano particles are much brighter and need one light source for excitation. Thus the use of fluorescent quantum dots could produce a higher contrast image and at a lower cost than organic dyes used as contrast media. But quantum dots are usually made of quite toxic elements.

 

Nano particles have a special property of high surface area to volume ratio, which allows various functional groups to get attached to a nano particle and thus bind to certain tumor cells. Furthermore, the 10 to 100 nm small size of nanoparticles, allows them to preferentially accumulate at tumor sites as tumors lack an effective lymphatic drainage system. Multifunctional nano particles can be manufactured that would detect, image, and then treat a tumor in future cancer treatment. Kanzius RF therapy attaches microscopic nano particles to cancer cells and then "cooks" tumors inside the body with radio waves that heat only the nanoparticles and the adjacent (cancerous) cells.

Nano wires are used to prepare sensor test chips, which can detect proteins and other biomarkers left behind by cancer cells, and detect and make diagnosis of cancer possible in the early stages from a single drops of a patient's blood.

Nano technology based drug delivery is based upon three facts: efficient encapsulation of the drugs, successful delivery of said drugs to the targeted region of the body, and successful release of that drug there.

Nano shells of 120 nm diameter, coated with gold were used to kill cancer tumors in mice by Prof. Jennifer at  Rice University. These nano shells are targeted to bond to cancerous cells by conjugating  antibodies or peptides to the nano shell surface. Area of the tumor is irradiated with an infrared laser, which heats the gold sufficiently and kills the cancer cells.

Cadmium selenide nano particles  in the form of quantum dots are used in detection of cancer tumors because when exposed to ultraviolet light, they glow. The surgeon injects these quantum dots into cancer tumors and can see the glowing tumor, thus the tumor can easily be removed.

Nano particles are used in cancer photodynamic therapy, wherein the particle is inserted within the tumor in the body and is illuminated with photo light from the outside. The particle absorbs light and if it is of metal, it will get heated due to energy from the light. High energy oxygen molecules are produced due to light which chemically react with and destroy tumors cell, without reacting with other body cells. Photodynamic therapy has gained importance as a noninvasive technique for dealing with tumors.

 

The clinical application of nanotechnology in operative dentistry

Nanotechnology aims at the creation and utilization of materials and devices at the atomic, and molecular level, supra molecular structures, and in the exploitation of unique properties of particles of size 0.1 nm to 100 nm. Nano filled composite resin materials are believed to offer excellent wear resistance, strength, and ultimate aesthetics due to their exceptional polishability and luster retention.

In operative dentistry, nano fillers constitute spherical silicon dioxide (SiO2 ) particles with an average size of 5-40 nm. The real innovation about nano fillers is the possibility of improving the load of inorganic phase. The effect of this high filler load is widely recorded in terms of mechanical properties.

Micro hybrid composites with additional load of Nano fillers are the best choice in operative dentistry. It is expected that in near future, it would be possible to use a filler material in operative dentistry, whose shape and composition would closely mimic the optical and mechanical characteristics of the natural hard tissues (enamel and dentin).

 

Surgery

The technique developed by Rice University, two pieces of chicken meat is fused by a flesh welder, by placing two pieces of chicken touching each other. In this technique, green liquid containing goldcoated nano shells is allowed to dribble along the seam and two sides are weld together. This method can be used arteries which have been cut during organ transplant. The flesh welder can be used to weld the artery perfectly.

 

Nano pharmaceuticals

Nano pharmaceuticals can be used to detect diseases at much earlier stages and the diagnostic applications could build upon conventional procedures using nanoparticles. Nano pharmaceuticals are an emerging field where the sizes of the drug particle or a therapeutic delivery system work at the nanoscale. Delivering the appropriate dose of a particular active agent to specific disease site still remains difficult in the pharmaceutical industry. Nano pharmaceuticals have enormous potential in addressing this failure of traditional therapeutics which offers site-specific targeting of active agents. Nano pharmaceuticals can reduce toxic systemic side effects thereby resulting in better patient compliance.

Pharmaceutical industry faces enormous pressure to deliver highquality products to patients while maintaining profitability. Therefore pharmaceutical companies are using nanotechnology to enhance the drug formulation and drug target discovery. Nano pharmaceutical makes the drug discovery process cost effective, resulting in the improved Research and Development success rate, thereby reducing the time for both drug discovery and diagnostics.

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