Week 9 - Nanotechnology - Shanpeng Li

Nanotechnology is currently a very advanced field being researched on extensively. This week’s lecture focus on nanotechnology brought on a topic that I am not very familiar to but very curious about. As mentioned by Professor James Gimzewski, nanotechnology can be applied to countless diverse fields; all it takes is significant amount of research and development. Future implications of nanotechnologies include fields such as electronics and energy productions but in my opinion the field that nanotechnology will contribute the most breakthroughs is in medicine.

Nanomedicine is the term used to refer to the application of nanotechnology in medicine. Numerous scientists have already come up with different usages of nanotechnology in medicine such as drug delivery and cancer treatment. Drug delivery currently suffers a major downfall and that is the fact most of the drugs administered to the patient do not end up in the wanted location and instead remains in the body. More than $65 billion a year are being wasted due to the poor delivery of drugs and the low availability in the targeted areas. One of the goals of nanomedicine is to create nanoscale molecular particles that can drastically improve the availability of the drug in targeted locations as shown in this video. (Drug Delivery) These particles will be specifically engineered to target certain type of molecules and deliver drugs with cellular precision. In my opinion, this concept will become a major breakthrough in the medical field saving massive amount of money each year which can then be used on other fields of research. Another area where nanotechnology can benefit medicine is the field of 3D imaging in the body. Most of the current imaging technology such as CT and MRI requires contrast materials injected into the patient in order to obtain a clear image. However if nanoengineered contrast materials are developed and used, these imaging technology can produce much higher definition images and thus allowing doctors to visualize where the problem lies.

Another very crucial area of medicine that nanotechnology can provide needed assistance is in the field of cancer treatment. With nanoparticles specifically targeted at the tumor or cancerous area, clear cut images of the location of the tumor can be produced which allows for a more precise treatment. Also one aspect of cancer treatment today is that surgeons often cut more than the cancerous area which results in the loss of healthy tissue. Nanotechnology can be used to create nanoparticles that target the specific tumor and attack it without damaging the nearby tissues. The future of nanomedicine in the cancer field has unimaginable possibilities. In my opinion, the creation of a nanoparticle that is capable of reaching a specified tumor area and treating it at the same time will be the most groundbreaking discovery in the coming future.

Nanotechnology is the new advanced topic that should be researched extensively. The benefits and possibilities it can bring into our society are very crucial to our future. Applications of nanotechnology into fields such as electronics and medicine are the perfect example of the fusion between art and science. Just like Professor James Gimzewski mentioned in his lecture, scientists often cannot think beyond their restrained thoughts to create something more appealing and advanced. It requires the combinations of artists and scientists to truly create a breakthrough project.

-Shanpeng Li

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