Nanomedicine Advances and Contributions
Nanomedicine advances are all thanks to our current knowledge of nanotechnology. Nanotechnology directs treatments specifically to the diseased tissue, without damaging the healthy parts.
Currently, nanomedicine advances have contributed to health sciences that focus on the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases that have a great impact on the population. This branch of medicine uses the knowledge of nanotechnology by addressing treatments to diseased tissue without damaging healthy tissue.
Nanotechnology is mainly used for controlling and manipulating matter at a scale of less than 1 micron. So, it creates materials and systems with unique properties capable of performing any function.
Areas of nanomedicine
Overall, this branch of medicine comprises three areas:
1. Nano advances in diagnostics
This relies on the use of nanodevices and contrast systems. This way, doctors can achieve sensitive, fast, and accurate detection of diseases in their initial stages. Nanodiagnostic devices can be either in vitro or in vivo.
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2. Nanotherapy, or controlled drug release
Next, this part of nanomedicine uses nanostructures that allow the accumulation and controlled release of an active substance exclusively in diseased cells.
Overall, the nanostructures must be:
- Able to transport appropriate doses of a drug.
- Stable until they reach the target tissue.
3. Regenerative nanomedicine advances
Doctors can even repair or replace damaged tissues and organs by applying nanotechnology. As a consequence, it’s now possible to stimulate the repairing mechanisms of the human body.
Currently, researchers are developing nanostructure-based theranostic systems. And, these combine elements within the same nanoparticle for the detection and localized treatment of a disease. Similarly, these systems will allow the visualization and evaluation of the kinetics and effectiveness of a given treatment.
Nanomedicine advances in oncology
In the field of oncology, the use of nanomedicine mainly focuses on two problems that are common to any type of cancer: the diagnosis and the side effects of chemotherapy.
An early cancer diagnosis greatly increases the chances of a cure. One of the main utilities of nanomedicine in this field is the possibility of detecting tumor cells in the early stages of this disease. In this regard, studies in animal models revealed that magnetic nanoparticles related to tumor markers allow correct detection of cancer. This may occur even when the levels of these markers are well below the levels detectable with the methods in use today.
Nanomedicine to prevent the side effects of chemotherapy
Chemotherapy is a highly aggressive treatment. It involves destructing cancer cells and has multiple side effects associated with it because it also destroys healthy cells. In the treatment of cancer, nanotechnology allows doctors to use “encapsulated” drugs in chemotherapy. This way, it improves its effectiveness while reducing its toxicity in the patient’s organism.
Recently, a group of European researchers created nanospheres that are capable of penetrating cancer cells only. Thus, the negative consequences of chemotherapy might become a thing of the past. These include nausea, physical weakness, and hair loss,
Nanomedicine advances in cardiovascular diseases
Also, about cardiovascular diseases, there are many utilities. Overall, one of the most important results is the possibility of quickly identifying artery lesions in the early phases.
Also, researchers are conducting studies in which certain nanoparticles can serve as safe vehicles for administering drugs. Then, they can take them directly in the affected areas.
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Also, doctors can now treat diseases such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and even arthritis more effectively. Likewise, the nanoparticles target specific areas of the brain and/or tissues.
For instance, the characteristics of Alzheimer’s disease include the progressive death of neurons. So, scientists soon will have the possibility of generating neurons using existing stem cells in the brain through growth factors.
Overall, nanomedicine will allow the best and earliest diagnosis of diseases soon. Also, scientists are developing localized and personalized treatments. Therefore, it will be possible to have a precise follow-up of the evolution of a disease.