Nanomedicine: promises and pitfalls 1

Published on September 30, 2015   39 min

Other Talks in the Series: Nanomedicine

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TOM WEBSTER: Hi. My name is Tom Webster, and I am Department Chair and a full Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Northeastern University in Boston. I also happen to serve as the President-elect for the Society for Biomaterials in the United States. And I'm also Director of an Indo-US Center for Biomaterials for Healthcare. So I'd like to give you a presentation right now on nano medicine, and concentrate on some of the promises that we see in this field as well as some of the pitfalls that we have to be cautious about for this field to move forward, to continue to help human health.
So on the first slide, we really see where I'd like to begin, and that is a definition of nanomedicine. And I think that this is important because the field is still relatively new. So it's important for me at the onset to describe what I mean when I'm talking about nanotechnology, and what I mean when I'm talking about nanomedicine. The way I think about nanotechnology is pretty straightforward, and it encompasses two fundamental ideas. The first idea is certainly you have to be working with the material at the nano scale. Now, we could probably spend the next week or even longer arguing what dimension nano scale is. But rather than get into that discussion, I'd like to point out the second promising part of nanomedicine, the second part to the definition of nanomedicine and nanotechnology, and that is that you have to be demonstrating that your nano-material is doing something significantly different than what we have today. So as just a quick example of these two fundamental parts to the definition, using something with nano scale, and then showing that it is significantly different compared to what we're using today, we could think of particles, we could think of tubes, we can think coating thicknesses, that really describe what is unique about the nano scale. And of course, whenever you're using nanotechnology in medicine, we call that nanomedicine. So, as I'll describe in this talk, you can see nanomedicine almost everywhere in human health today. You can see examples of research in diagnosing a disease, in preventing a disease, as well as treating a disease. Primarily during this talk, I will discuss how you can treat diseases with nanomedicine. But certainly, it is a wide, broad field that is attracting a lot of attention in the field of scientists and clinicians.