Nanotechnology : The New Frontier in Science

Year 2014: This fast paced, unnervingly competitive and rapidly evolving age.

A time when conversations are textual rather than verbal, where shopping is at just the click of a button and pizza gets to you faster than an ambulance. The things that we currently have, the technology that we use today are things that were unfathomable in the past. Yes we live in the Tech Age where technology is rapidly reducing human effort and improving our standards of work. So we use in technology in our day to day life right? From laptops and mobile phones, to television plasma screens. It’s everywhere. Even in the field of Medicine, technology is an integral part of most of our standard diagnostic tests. Be it an MRI machine or an Electrocardiogram.

Nanotechnology is the manipulation of atomic matter on an atomic, molecular and supramolecular scale. The concepts that led to the origin of nanotechnology were first discussed by renowned physicist Richard Feynman in the year 1959. However the term “nanotechnology” was the brainchild of Nario Taniguchi in the year 1974, though it was not widely known. Nanomedicine and Nanodentistry is the use of nanotechnology in medicine and dentistry respectively. These are current hot topics of research internationally and often popular topics for debates concerning Man vs Machine especially when it comes to the use of Nanorobots. Through its National Nanotechnology Initiative, the USA has invested about 3.7 billion dollars closely followed by the European Union investing about 1.2 billion dollars. Nanomedicine, an extremely popular and large industry had sales reaching $6.8 billion in the year 2004, with over 200 companies and 38 products world wide.

Nanomedicine has been especially invaluable in Cancer research. Their small size is what really adds to their potential. Nanoparticles of Cadmium Selenide ( Quantum dots) glow when they are exposed to ultraviolet light and by when they are injected, they seep inside the tumours making them an accurate guide for tumour removal. Gold nanoparticles are multifunctional; they can target specific tumour cells, tissues and organs. Hypothetically Nanorobots could enter the body and repair or detect infections or any damages and could be as small as 0.5-3 micrometres in size. Endogenous peptides that represent the pathological and biological information of a disease have always been a topic of interest among diagnostician. Peptide extraction is still a challenge due to the complexity of Human Bodily Fluids. Hepcidine is one peptide hormone that has been proved to be a biomarker for iron related diseases. The extraction of Hepcidine from human bodily fluids had been attempted by the use of a nanoporous silica film and has been done successfully. Further a study was conducted to confirm the findings and now we have a very fast, reliable and cost effective method of peptide extraction. Nano-enabled drug delivery systems (NEDD Systems) are emerging as a key area application in nanotechnology. Phew! Such complicated aspects of technology. There was a time when we thought going to the moon was impossible. Now it’s such an accepted notion that it seems ridiculous that man could have every doubted his journey to the moon. Maybe nanotechnology will be a natural accepted notion in the near future, when medical impossibilities would cease to exist. Robots and machines needn’t be as scary as they show us in the movies, do they? I envision a future in which man and machine would work in perfect harmony, man’s natural intellect and the accuracy and efficiency of a machine being the perfect match to push the barriers and extend the realm of science.

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