Nanotechnology holds a wide range of uses in drugs and therapeutics.  Nanotechnology is advancing to high levels in drugs because it is effective to counter diseases just as well as and even better than drugs.

This excellent table provided by Patrick Couvreur and Christine Vauthier shows various therapeutic challenges and nanotechnology solutions for these challenges (Image Citation 6 ).

The human body is composed of various systems which in turn are composed of organs.  These organs contain a variety of different and complex chemical substances. When there is an illness or a disease in a specific part of the body, medicine is given.  The chemicals inside the medicine, although good for the ill part of the body, may spread (through the circulatory system) to other parts of the body where they are not suitable and by reacting can cause various side effects. 

Nanotechnology can be used to deliver medicine or drugs into specific parts of the human body (called “disease targeting”), thereby making the medicines more effective and less harmful to the other parts of the body.  Thus, various side effects of medicines can also be avoided. Nanotechnology can also be used to create “biomarkers” to mark areas where pathogens are located.

(Image Citation 7) 

Not only can nanotechnology be used to remove disease causing viruses and bacteria, it can also provide early detection of diseases (see Diagnostics Page).

A recent study conducted by NIH (National Institute of Health) has found “gold nano-particles” very effective in countering cancer (Citation 4). Gold has been known to be one of the most unreactive metals on the periodic table and it can also be heated to high temperatures before melting. Due to this, “nanoshells” made of gold are useful to fight cancer (particularly soft-tissue tumors, also because of their ability to absorb radiation at certain wavelengths. Once the nanoshells enter tumor cells and radiation treatment is applied, they absorb the energy and heat up enough to kill the cancer cells. Not only gold but other un-reactive elements (such as silver) can also be used for the same purposes. 

See the video on the bottom left for more on nanotechnology and it's use for cancer treatments. The image on the bottom right is a drug delivery system designed specifically for cancer (Image Citation 9).


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