While true clinical applications of nanotechnology are still practically inexistent, a significant number of promising medical projects are in an advanced experimental stage. Implementation of nanotechnology in medicine and physiology means that mechanisms and devices are so technically designed that they can interact with sub-cellular i. Thus therapeutic efficacy can be achieved to maximum with minimal side effects by means of the targeted cell or tissue-specific clinical intervention.
More detailed research and careful clinical trials are still required to introduce diverse components of nanobiotechnology in random clinical applications with success. Ethical and moral concerns also need to be addressed in parallel with the new developments.
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Nanotechnology is a novel scientific approach that involves materials and equipments capable of manipulating physical as well as chemical properties of a substance at molecular levels. On the other hand, biotechnology uses the knowledge and techniques of biology to manipulate molecular, genetic and cellular processes to develop products and services and is used in diverse fields from medicine to agriculture.
Nanobiotechnology is considered to be the unique fusion of biotechnology and nanotechnology by which classical micro-technology can be merged to a molecular biological approach in real. Through this methodology, atomic or molecular grade machines can be made by mimicking or incorporating biological systems, or by building tiny tools to study or modulate diverse properties of a biological system on molecular basis. This technology has potential to remove obvious boundaries between biology, physics and chemistry to some extent, and shape up our current ideas and understanding.
Generally, nanotechnology deals with developing materials, devices, or other structures possessing at least one dimension sized from 1 to nanometers. Meanwhile, Biotechnology deals with metabolic and other physiological processes of biological subjects including microorganisms. Association of these two technologies, i. This idea entails the application of fields of science as diverse as surface science, organic chemistry, molecular biology, semiconductor physics, microfabrication, etc.
The pathophysiological conditions and anatomical changes of diseased or inflamed tissues can potentially trigger a great deal of scopes for the development of various targeted nanotechnological products. This development is like to be advantageous in the following ways: 1. Drug targeting can be achieved by taking advantage of the distinct pathophysiological features of diseased tissues [ 3 ]; 2. Various nanoproducts can be accumulated at higher concentrations than normal drugs [ 4 ]; 3. Nanosystems have capacity of selective localization in inflammed tissues [ 7 ].
Drug loading onto nanoparticles modifies cell and tissue distribution and leads to a more selective delivery of biologically active compounds to enhance drug efficacy and reduces drug toxicity [ 10 , 11 ]. A number of clinical applications of nanobiotechnology, such as disease diagnosis, target-specific drug delivery, and molecular imaging are being laboriously investigated at present.
Some new promising products are also undergoing clinical trials [ 12 , 13 ].
Such advanced applications of this approach to biological systems will undoubtedly transform the foundations of diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease in future. Some of these applications are discussed below. But by the time those symptoms have appeared, treatment may have a decreased chance of being effective.
Therefore the earlier a disease can be detected, the better the chance for a cure is. Optimally, diseases should be diagnosed and cured before symptoms even manifest themselves. Current technology, such as- polymerase chain reaction PCR leads toward such tests and devices, but nanotechnology is expanding the options currently available, which will result in greater sensitivity and far better efficiency and economy. However, dyes often limit the specificity and practicality of the detection methods.
Nanobiotechnology offers a solution by using semiconductor nanocrystals also referred to as "quantum dots". These minuscule probes can withstand significantly more cycles of excitations and light emissions than typical organic molecules, which more readily decompose [ 14 ]. Individual target probesDespite the advantages of magnetic detections, optical and colorimetric detections will continue to be chosen by the medical community. Nano gold particles studded with short segments of DNA form the basis of the easy-to-read test for the presence of any given genetic sequence. If the sequence of interest in the samples, it binds to complementary DNA tentacles on multiple nanospheres and forms a dense web of visible gold balls.
Protein chipsProteins play the central role in establishing the biological phenotype of organisms in healthy and diseased states and are more indicative of functionality. Hence, proteomics is important in disease diagnostics and pharmaceutics, where drugs can be developed to alter signaling pathways. Protein chips can be treated with chemical groups, or small modular protein components, that can specifically bind to proteins containing a certain structural or biochemical motif [ 16 ].
Two companies currently operating in this application space are Agilent, Inc. Agilent uses a non-contact ink-jet technology to produce microarrays by printing oligos and whole cDNAs onto glass slides at the nanoscale. NanoInk uses dip-pen nanolithography DPN technology to assemble structure on a nanoscale of measurement [ 17 ]. Sparse cell detectionSparse cells are both rare and physiologically distinct from their surrounding cells in normal physiological conditions e. They are significant in the detection and diagnosis of various genetic defects.
However, it is a challenge to identify and subsequently isolate these sparse cells. Nanobiotechnology presents new opportunities for advancement in this area. Scientists developed nanosystems capable of effectively sorting sparse cells from blood and other tissues. For example, by inserting electrodes into microchannels, cells can be precisely sorted based on surface charge. They can also be sorted by using biocompatible surfaces with precise nanopores. The nano-biotechnology center at Cornell University NBTC is currently using these technologies to develop powerful diagnostic tools for the isolation and diagnosis of various diseases [ 18 ].
Nanotechnology as a tool in imagingIntracellular imaging can be made possible through labelling of target molecules with quantum dots QDs or synthetic chomophores, such as fluorescent proteins that will facilitate direct investigation of intracellular signalling complex by optical techniques, i. Drug Delivery:Nanoparticles as therapeutics can be delivered to targeted sites, including locations that cannot be easily reached by standard drugs. For instance, if a therapeutic can be chemically attached to a nanoparticle, it can then be guided to the site of the disease or infection by radio or magnetic signals.
These nanodrugs can also be designed to "release" only at times when specific molecules are present or when external triggers such as infrared heat are provided. At the same time, harmful side effects from potent medications can be avoided by reducing the effective dosage needed to treat the patient.
By encapsulating drugs in nanosized materials such as organic dendrimers, hollow polymer capsules, and nanoshells , release can be controlled much more precisely than ever before. Drugs are designed to carry a therapeutic payload radiation, chemotherapy or gene therapy as well as for imaging applications [ 21 ]. Many agents, which cannot be administered orally due to their poor bioavailability, will now have scope of use in therapy with the help of nanotechnology [ 22 , 23 ].
Nano-formulations offer protection for agents vulnerable to degradation or denaturation when exposed to extreme pH, and also prolong half-life of a drug by expanding retention of the formulation through bioadhesion [ 24 , 25 ]. Another broad application of nanotechnology is the delivery of antigens for vaccination [ 26 , 27 ]. Recent advances in encapsulation and development of suitable animal models have demonstrated that microparticles and nanoparticles are capable of enhancing immunization [ 28 ].
Gene deliveryCurrent gene therapy systems suffer from the inherent difficulties of effective pharmaceutical processing and development, and the chance of reversion of an engineered mutant to the wild type. Potential immunogenicity of viral vectors involved in gene delivery is also problematic [ 29 , 30 ]. Therefore, successful introduction of less immunogenic nanosize gene carriers as a substitution of the disputed viral vectors seems beneficial in repairing or replacing impaired genes in human [ 31 ].
LiposomesA liposome being composed of a lipid bilayer can be used in gene therapy due to its ability to pass through lipid bilayers and cell membranes of the target. Recent use of several groups of liposomes in a local delivery has been found to be convincingly effective [ 32 , 33 ]. Liposomes can also help achieve targeted therapy. Zhang et al demonstrated widespread reporter expression in the brains of rhesus monkeys by linking nanoparticle such as polyethylene glycol treated liposomes to a monoclonal antibody for human insulin reporter [ 34 ].
These successful trials reflect the future of targeted therapy and the importance of nanometer-sized constructs for the advancement of molecular medicine. SurfacesIn nature, there are a multitude of examples of the complicated interactions between molecules and surfaces. For example, the interactions between blood cells and the brain or between fungal pathogens and infection sites rely on complex interplays between cells and surface characteristics. Nanofabrication unravels the complexity of these interactions by modifying surface characteristics with nanoscale resolutions, which can lead to hybrid biological systems.
This hybrid material can be used to screen drugs, as sensors, or as medical devices and implants. Nanosystems, owned by the Irish drug company Elan, developed a polymer coating capable of changing the surface of drugs that have poor water solubility [ 35 ]. Biomolecular EngineeringThe expense and time involved in traditional biomolecule designing limit the availability of bioactive molecules.
Nanoscale assembly and synthesis techniques provide an alternative to traditional methods. Improvements can be achieved due to the ability to carry out chemical and biological reactions on solid substrates, rather than through the traditional solution based processes. The use of solid substrate usually means less waste and the ability to manipulate the biomolecule far more precisely.
EngeneOS Waltham, Massachusetts pioneered the field of biomolecular engineering. The company developed the engineered genomic operating systems that create programmable biomolecular machines employing natural and artificial building blocks. These biomolecule machines have broad range of commercial applications-as biosensors, in chemical synthesis and processing, as bioelectronic devices and materials, in nanotechnology, in functional genomics and in drug discovery.
BiopharmaceuticalsNanobiotechnology can develop drugs for diseases that conventional pharmaceuticals cannot target. The pharmaceutical industry traditionally focuses on developing drugs to treat a defined universe of about five hundred confirmed disease targets.
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Nanoscale techniques for drug development will be a boon to small companies, which cannot employ hundreds of organic chemists to synthesize and test thousands of compounds. Nanobiotechnology brings the ability to physically manipulate targets, molecules and atoms on solid substrates by tethering them to biomembranes and controlling where and when chemical reactions take place, in a fast process that requires few materials reagents and solutions.
This advance will reduce drug discovery costs, will provide a large diversity of compounds, and will facilitate the development of highly specific drugs. Potentia Pharmaceuticals Louisville, Kentucky is an early-stage company that is attempting to streamline the drug development process with the use of nanotechnologies Harvard Business School Nanotechnology in cardiac therapyNanotechnology is currently offering promising tools for applications in modern cardiovascular science to explore existing frontiers at the cellular level and treat challenging cardiovascular diseases more effectively.
These tools can be applied in diagnosis, imaging and tissue engineering [ 36 ]. Miniaturized nanoscale sensors like quantum dots QDs , nanocrystals, and nanobarcodes are capable of sensing and monitoring complex immune signals in response to cardiac or inflammatory events [ 20 ]. Nanotechnology can also help detect and describe clinically-significant specific mechanisms implicated in cardiac disorders. In addition, it is useful in designing atomic-scale machines that can be incorporated into biological systems at the molecular level.
Introduction of these newly designed nanomachines may positively change many ideas and hypotheses in the treatment of critical cardiovascular diseases. Nanotechnology could also have great impact in tackling issues like unstable plaques and clarification of valves.
Thus, this approach could be a real milestone of success in achieving localized and sustained arterial and cardiac drug therapy for the management of cardiovascular diseases [ 37 ]. Nanotechnology in dental careNanotechnology will have future medical applications in the field of dentistry.
The role of nanodentistry by means of the use of nanomaterials [ 38 , 39 ], biotechnology [ 40 , 41 ], and nanorobotics will ensure better oral health. Millions of people currently receiving poor dental care will benefit from such remarkable breakthrough in the science of dental health [ 42 , 43 ]. Moreover, nanodental techniques in major tooth repair may also evolve. Developing new tools, such as peptoid nanosheets , for medical and biological purposes is another primary objective in nanotechnology.
New nanotools are often made by refining the applications of the nanotools that are already being used. The imaging of native biomolecules , biological membranes , and tissues is also a major topic for the nanobiology researchers. Other topics concerning nanobiology include the use of cantilever array sensors and the application of nanophotonics for manipulating molecular processes in living cells.
Recently, the use of microorganisms to synthesize functional nanoparticles has been of great interest. Microorganisms can change the oxidation state of metals. These microbial processes have opened up new opportunities for us to explore novel applications, for example, the biosynthesis of metal nanomaterials. In contrast to chemical and physical methods, microbial processes for synthesizing nanomaterials can be achieved in aqueous phase under gentle and environmentally benign conditions.
This approach has become an attractive focus in current green bionanotechnology research towards sustainable development.
The terms are often used interchangeably. When a distinction is intended, though, it is based on whether the focus is on applying biological ideas or on studying biology with nanotechnology. Bionanotechnology generally refers to the study of how the goals of nanotechnology can be guided by studying how biological "machines" work and adapting these biological motifs into improving existing nanotechnologies or creating new ones.
In other words, nanobiotechnology is essentially miniaturized biotechnology , whereas bionanotechnology is a specific application of nanotechnology. For example, DNA nanotechnology or cellular engineering would be classified as bionanotechnology because they involve working with biomolecules on the nanoscale. Conversely, many new medical technologies involving nanoparticles as delivery systems or as sensors would be examples of nanobiotechnology since they involve using nanotechnology to advance the goals of biology.
The definitions enumerated above will be utilized whenever a distinction between nanobio and bionano is made in this article. However, given the overlapping usage of the terms in modern parlance, individual technologies may need to be evaluated to determine which term is more fitting. As such, they are best discussed in parallel. Most of the scientific concepts in bionanotechnology are derived from other fields. Biochemical principles that are used to understand the material properties of biological systems are central in bionanotechnology because those same principles are to be used to create new technologies.
Aquananotechnology: Global Prospects
Material properties and applications studied in bionanoscience include mechanical properties e. DNA computing and agriculture target delivery of pesticides, hormones and fertilizers. Nano-biotechnology takes most of its fundamentals from nanotechnology. Most of the devices designed for nano-biotechnological use are directly based on other existing nanotechnologies.
Nano-biotechnology is often used to describe the overlapping multidisciplinary activities associated with biosensors, particularly where photonics , chemistry, biology, biophysics, nano-medicine, and engineering converge. Measurement in biology using wave guide techniques, such as dual polarization interferometry , are another example. Applications of bionanotechnology are extremely widespread. Insofar as the distinction holds, nanobiotechnology is much more commonplace in that it simply provides more tools for the study of biology. Bionanotechnology, on the other hand, promises to recreate biological mechanisms and pathways in a form that is useful in other ways.
Nanomedicine is a field of medical science whose applications are increasing more and more thanks to nanorobots and biological machines , which constitute a very useful tool to develop this area of knowledge. In the past years, researchers have made many improvements in the different devices and systems required to develop nanorobots. This supposes a new way of treating and dealing with diseases such as cancer; thanks to nanorobots, side effects of chemotherapy have been controlled, reduced and even eliminated, so some years from now, cancer patients will be offered an alternative to treat this disease instead of chemotherapy, which causes secondary effects such as hair loss, fatigue or nausea killing not only cancerous cells but also the healthy ones.
At a clinical level, cancer treatment with nanomedicine will consist of the supply of nanorobots to the patient through an injection that will search for cancerous cells while leaving untouched the healthy ones. Patients that will be treated through nanomedicine will not notice the presence of these nanomachines inside them; the only thing that is going to be noticeable is the progressive improvement of their health. Nanobiotechnology sometimes referred to as nanobiology is best described as helping modern medicine progress from treating symptoms to generating cures and regenerating biological tissues.
Three American patients have received whole cultured bladders with the help of doctors who use nanobiology techniques in their practice. Also, it has been demonstrated in animal studies that a uterus can be grown outside the body and then placed in the body in order to produce a baby. Stem cell treatments have been used to fix diseases that are found in the human heart and are in clinical trials in the United States. There is also funding for research into allowing people to have new limbs without having to resort to prosthesis.
Artificial proteins might also become available to manufacture without the need for harsh chemicals and expensive machines. Aquananotechnology: Global Prospects David E. Reisner, PhD , is a well-known early pioneer and entrepreneur in the burgeoning field of nanotechnology, having cofounded in two nanotech companies in Connecticut, Inframat and US Nanocorp. In , The Nano Group Inc. Reisner and cofounders were featured in Forbes magazine in David has more than publications and is an inventor on 10 issued patents.