TRAC 32: Nanotechnology in Medicine
Nanotechnology has exploded onto the scientific scene in the last few years and has impacted nearly every area of scientific research. The infancy of nanotechnology began in materials science laboratories. The field of nanotechnology has matured and is now at the forefront of medical research. Nanomedicine has been heralded as the next “big thing”. Popular literature promises tiny machines that will have a huge impact on disease and aging. The reality is that nanomedicine can be divided into three basic categories tiny machines, diagnostics, and therapeutic delivery. This course will discuss all of these nanotechnology applications and focus on diagnostics and therapeutics.
Next generation nanomedicine technologies are being developed to provide continuous and linked molecular diagnostics and therapeutics. Research is being performed to develop nano-engineered systems which will seek out diseased (e.g. cancerous) cells, enter those living cells, and either perform repairs or induce those cells to die through apoptosis. These "nanomedicine systems" are being constructed to be autonomous, much like present-day vaccines; but will have sophisticated targeting, sensing, and feedback control systems, much more superior than conventional antibody-based therapies. The fundamental concept of nanomedicine is not to just kill all aberrant cells by surgery, radiation therapy, or chemotherapy. Rather it is to fix cells, when appropriate, one cell-at-a time, to preserve and re-build organ systems. This technology is currently being developed to treat diseases such as cancer, retinopathy of prematurity, and diabetes.
In this three-day training program, participants will learn the history of nanotechnology in medicine through reading and discussing the primary literature. Participants will learn to prepare and use materials. These techniques will also be used to deliver drugs and genes to cells in vitro during the laboratory portion of this course. Lecture and detailed instructions to generate nanoparticles from raw materials for diagnostics and therapeutic delivery will also be included.
Topics: How big is nanotechnology?; The promise of nanomedicine; Nanomedicine defined; Clinical diagnostics; Tissue engineering; Gene therapy; Nanoparticles and nanocapsules; Layer-by-layer technology; Analysis of nano-materials; Biology as nanoscaled machines; Construction of a nanoparticle; Toxicity of nanomaterials; Environmental issues in large scale nanotech; The future of nanotechnology in medicine