Nanomedicine

Published May 2015 Updated September 2015 17 lectures
Prof. Thomas J. Webster
Northeastern University, USA
Summary

Nanotechnology (or the use of materials with one dimension less than 100 nm) has already begun to revolutionize numerous industries including aerospace, building construction, solar, electronics, and others. However, in no field has nanotechnology made a larger impact or promised more advances than in medicine. Nanomaterials are intriguing materials for... read moremedicine due to their ability to penetrate nanoscale pores of tissues, possess prolonged circulation, enter cells, and have increased surface area per volume allowing for greater drug loading. For these reasons, nanomaterials are finding numerous uses in medicine including fighting cancer, promoting tissue regeneration, reversing aging, inhibiting infection, limiting inflammation or scar tissue growth, and many others. There has also been interest in another aspect of nanomedicine termed theranostics. Theranostics is the use of nanoparticles to simultaneously detect disease (such as cancer) and then treat the disease immediately after detection. Nanomedicine is also making a large impact on personalized medicine, or the ability to tailor medical treatments to each person rather than today’s approach of generalizing medical treatments. For example, there are now external and internal sensors that employ nanomaterials to simultaneously diagnose and treat diseases, such sensors can even send signals to a phone to inform the patient what is occurring. Despite the large impact nanotechnology has already made in medicine and its extensive promises for the future, there still are some concerns which could paralyze this field. Specifically, there is concern over nanoparticle toxicity during manufacturing and use. Efforts are also needed to commercialize nanomedicine to help patients. With a slowing global economy and risk adversity, attention needs to be given to commercializing such promising nanomedicine advances, or the public will never fully experience the benefits of nanomedicine. This lecture series will comprehensively cover all of the above in the hope of a continued fruitful future for nanomedicine.