• Leena Mirchandani

Nanorobotics

According to the National Nanotechnology Initiative, “Nanoscience and nanotechnology are the study and application of extremely small things and can be used across all the other science fields, such as chemistry, biology, physics, materials science, and engineering.” Nanoparticles are extremely small! For context, there are 25,400,000 nanometers in an inch and 100,000 nanometers constitutes for the thickness of a sheet of newspaper. The US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health discusses that nanotechnology is becoming more and more common in pharmaceutical technology. Nanotechnology has allowed for improved imaging techniques for illnesses including cancer, improved targeting of drug treatments, decrease in the number of adverse effects of chemotherapy, and the increased the effectiveness of other cancer related medications including cryotherapy and ultrasound.

There is much potential for nanorobotics in hematology, dentistry, neurosurgery, oncology, and vascular. Within hematology, there are many possibilities, some of which include a nanorobot called a respirocyte which can collect oxygen for distribution through the bloodstream, collect carbon dioxide, and metabolize circulating glucose. Nanorobots could also play a role in the process of hemostasis or stopping the flow of blood. It can be effective in stopping bleeding and promoting healthy vessel repair. Nanorobots could potentially be used as phagocytic agents in order to battle infections from HIV to E Coli.

Within dentistry, virtually everything from teeth whitening to orthodontics could benefit from the implementation of nanorobotics. Nanorobots could even be implemented in the initial analgesia by allowing activation of this in highly specific areas. By using nanorobots in root canal fillings, the success rate of root canal procedures could increase as this technology can help bind targeted pathogens for treatments. On a different note, nanorobots could work as a treatment for conditions including dentine hypersensitivity.

Nanotechnology has evolved from a theoretical to a practical technology, and can be implemented in neurosurgery. As this technology becomes more advanced and widespread, there may be a decrease in invasive intracranial monitoring and an increase in the use of nanotechnology which may allow the manipulation of individual cells and molecules. Nanodevices may revolutionize the treatment of spinal cord injuries. According to the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, “Nanodevices are enabling a new dimension of precision and control with the reconnection of nerves.” Rupture of a cerebral aneurysm is highly fatal. According to the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, “Nanorobotics can present a potential option for screening for a new aneurysm, or closer monitoring of an identified aneurysm.” This could possibly decrease the fatalities caused by ruptures of a cerebral aneurysm.

Nanotechnology could better cancer treatment and oncology. Conventional chemotherapy (a major cancer treatment) can be toxic to non-cancerous cells. Using nanotechnology can target cancerous cells and release treatments specifically to those cells. Nanotechnology could also be used “to improve the detection and mapping of tumor margins intraoperatively,” as the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health states.

Lastly, according to the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, “Intravascular nanorobots are potentially the next stage in the continued development of our primary prevention capabilities, and will likely contribute to making our health care system more lean and effective.” Intravascular nanobots could monitor chronic health conditions, prevent illness, and even potentially treat certain conditions.

There is much room for possibility within the medical field due to the advent of nanotechnology. Nanorobotics can revolutionize patient treatment for the better.