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Nanorobotics in Medicine - Essay Example

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Nanotechnology has been considered before as science fiction as portrayed in movies and television. However, this field of science has been around for the past several years and has found many applications in telecommunications and manufacturing industries…
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Nanorobotics in Medicine
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Download file to see previous pages The very advantages of such reduced size are the high degree of precision and control on the end product. Therefore, what cannot be reached or manipulated in the past due to space and size restrictions can now be easily accessed and operate on through appropriate miniature tools (Cavalcanti 1, Martinac and Metelko 1).
Not only telecommunications and materials science are experiencing the excitement in this new technology. The world of medicine is said to be one of those that will greatly benefit from nanotechnology. Experts clearly see the impact of this technology in the practice of medicine. In fact, funds have been flowing towards this area recently. In the US alone, according to Freitas (1) more than $500 million was allocated for nanotechnology research and development in 2002, $849 million in 2004 and reached $1 billion in 2006. In Europe, the European Commission apportioned 1.3 billion euros for nanotechnology R&D for 2003-2006. Furthermore, biomedical nanoscale applications were projected to have a 35% per year growth rate (Freitas 1). Due to the great interest in application of nanotechnology in medicine, a new field of science emerged and called nanomedicine. Nanomedicine is defined as the utilization of the knowledge of molecular characteristics of the human body for the diagnosis, treatment, prevention, relief, improvement of pains, injuries and diseases.
Frontiers in nanomedicine include three main categories. These are nanoscale structured materials or nanodevices, engineered microorganisms and nanorobots (Martinac and Metelko 2). Nanoscale structured materials or nanodevices are microscopic devices that can be used in implants or for delivering drugs to specific sites. Examples of nanodevices are nanopores which can contain large amounts of drugs or enzymes for controlled release using the very high surface area and size of the pores. Engineered microorganisms include bacteria and macrophages that can produce enzymes or perform new beneficial functions. Expectations are high in the branch of medical nanorobotics (Martinac and Metelko 2). Nanorobots are envisioned to offer advances through miniaturization of electronic medical devices by recreating naturally existing models such as those of bacteria and viruses. This entails fusing microelectronics and modified microorganisms to develop new artificial biological devices or engineering microelectronics alone that can perform specified tasks inside the human body (Freitas 9). Just like every normal machine or tool, nanorobotics are envisioned to be built from scratch although in microscopic proportions. Therefore, there is a need to design basic parts and components with minimum specifications and but with more than enough functionality. In other words, the first objective is to manufacture nanobearings and nanogears which will provide the above capabilities. Overlap-repulsion bearing designs by Drexler and Merkle pioneered these efforts (Freitas 10).
A functioning nanorobot is seen to have molecular sorting rotors and a robotic arm. The latter is also called a telescopic manipulator. The exterior must contain or be made up of materials like glycocalyx that do not react or prevent absorption of blood materials such as fibrinogen. These components are also placed to provide biocompatibility and prevent immune system reactions. In addition, chemotactic sensors, molecules with specific binding ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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