Again, as with any new and disruptive technologies, nanotechnology comes with its own desired code of ethics.

What exactly are ethics?

“Wiktionary”, an online dictionary, defines ethics as “the study of principles relating to right and wrong conduct; Morality; The standards that govern the conduct of a person, especially a member of a profession (Citation 15). Webster’s dictionary defines ethics asthe principles of conduct governing an individual or a group(Citation 16). , (Image Citation 25).


So what are the ethical issues of nanotechnology in medicine?  Many bioethical researchers believe that nanomedicine could be manipulated to harm the human body rather than healing it.  How would the use of a technology that can’t be seen be regulated?  What if, they say, the guiding system on the medicine malfunctions and takes the medicine to the wrong part of the body, such as the brain? Wouldn’t numerous side-effects (or direct-effects) take place?  For example, we suppose that a “nanorobot” has been designed to carry a drug with chemical X to the pancreas in order to remove cancer cells.  It has been found that  a pancreatic cancer medicine "X" can cause permanent damage to the spinal cord but not to the pancreas.  What if the nanorobot guiding system malfunctions (due to lack of proper care of manufacturer, for example) and the drug enters the spinal cord?  What if nanorobots present in the body start attacking the good cells instead of tumors? 

Another scenario taken into consideration is bioterrorism.  What if the nanomedicine technology is used for terrorism purposes?  Particles that can’t be seen or easily controlled would enter the body and deliver harmful substances such as toxins and viruses which could harm the masses easily.

Also, will the materials used for the nano-medicinal technologies be non-toxic and eco-friendly?  Enviormental degradation would sharply increase to extremly high levels because nanomaterials would be manufactured by hundreds of thousands. (Image Citation 26)


The bottom video explores some of the ethical issues and risks of nanotechnology and nanomedicine.

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