Nanotechnology or nanotech is the technology in which any matter can be changed/reshaped at atomic, molecular and supramolecular levels. It deals with particles ranging from 1 to 100 nanometres. Dealing with things at this molecular level gives us a scope of changing the structure from inside or dealing with the root cause. Nanotechnology has a wide range of applications, but the medical field will be its biggest beneficiary. Nano-tech will completely revolutionise the existing system of diagnosis as well as treatment.
Role of Nanomicelles
The role of Nanomicelles is very significant in the treatment of diseases. Nanomicelles are formed when amphiphilic molecules assemble themselves to form a spherical structure, this structure is only 5 to 100 nm in diameter.
Different agents are used to make nanomicelles, although they are usually created through surfactant molecules which can be non-ionic, ionic and cationic detergents. Some nanomicelles can also be grown with a mixture of lipids and detergents.
They are amphiphilic i.e. they consist of a hydrophilic outer shell and a hydrophobic interior. This dual property makes them an ideal carrier for delivering drug molecules.
The hydrophilic shell makes the micelles soluble in the water allowing for intravenous delivery while the hydrophobic core transports the drug for therapy.
Once injected intravenously, these nanomicelles can easily escape the circulation and enter tumours where blood vessels are found to leak. These leaky blood vessels are absent in healthy organs. In this way, these nanomicelles will increase the efficiency of the targeted drug delivery system.
The goal of cancer therapy is to destroy cancer cells without harming healthy cells in the body. Chemotherapy approved for the treatment of cancer is highly toxic with various side effects. Thus an effective targeted drug delivery is essential.
Major uses of Nano-tech in medical
- Nanotech detectors for heart attacks can be placed inside vulnerable patients. These can detect early signs of a heart attack so that preventive measures can be taken.
- Nanochips can be injected into the bloodstream to check for plaque in arteries.
- Nanocarriers for eye surgery, chemotherapy etc.
- Nano Diabetic pads can be used to regulate blood sugar levels.
- Nanoparticles can be used for effective targeted drug delivery into complex organs like brain for the therapeutic treatment of neurological disorders.
- Nanosponges are polymer nanoparticles coated with red blood cell membranes and can be used to absorb toxins and remove them from the bloodstream. These sponges can be used to remove poison or other toxic substances from the body.
- Nanoflares are used to detect cancer cells in the bloodstream.
- Nanopores are used in making DNA sequencing more efficient.
- Antiviral nano-coating can be done on face masks and Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) kits for very high-risk places.
Since the technology is still in its nascent stage, the potential risks are controversial.Regulators such as severalenvironmental agencies and the European Commission’s Directorate of Health and Consumer Protection have begun to assess the potential risks posed by nanoparticles.
However detailed research is needed on how it will behave inside the organism. The behaviour of the nanoparticles based on their size, shape and surface reactivity should be thoroughly analysed before they are used on a regular basis.