Nanotechnology is a field of the applied sciences dedicated to the control and handle of matter at a scale smaller than a micrometer. Nanotechnology does not only allow us to develop smaller electronic devices, nanotech promises innovative and efficient solutions for environmental problems and other problems that affect mankind. The solutions include new medical applications, control of environmental pollution, etc. but the concept of nanotech is not totally developed or known in our society. The combination of theories and concepts from disciplines not only including engineering and physics but also chemistry, biology, mathematics and computer science; is necessary for the development of biocompatible systems.
According to a group of researchers from the University of Toronto some of the most promising applications of nanotechnology are: storage, production and conversion of energy; weaponry and defense systems; air and water treatments; diagnosis and treatment of diseases; drug delivery; construction; communications; among others. Researchers at Rice University have demonstrated the use of nanoshells coated with gold to kill cancer tumors. The nanoshells can be targeted to bond to cancerous cells using different techniques. Then by irradiating the area of the tumor with an infrared laser the gold is heated and cancer cells are destroyed [Loo et al. 2004].
Another application of nanoparticles in order to treat cancer is the employment of cadmium selenide nanoparticles which are classified in the group of quantum dots. These particles glow when exposed to ultraviolet light, when injected they seep into cancer tumors, so the surgeon can see glowing the tumor under UV light and use it as a guide for more accurate tumor removal [Conference by Chetsanga (2009)]. But cancer treatment is not the only medical application for gold-coated nanoshells. According to researchers at Rice University, these particles can be prepared in a special solution and combined with an IR laser work as a flesh welder. This could be useful for a surgeon to stitch arteries and organ connectors in transplant surgeries.
Absolutely nanotechnology is being proclaimed as the next big technological revolution. The evolvement of nanotechnology would take many years. Scientists should continue exploring the wide field of study that nanotechnology provides in benefit of everyone. Finally I want to share a video explaining how nanotechnology and biocompatible nanomaterials can be employed in order to destroy cancer cells in the body.
Ernesto Fernández Rivera