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Nanotechnology. Student presentation from previous BIOT 412 class. What is Nanotechnology. The prefix “ nano ”is a Greek word for “ dwarf ” One nanometer (nm) is equal to one-billionth of a meter About a width of 6 carbon atoms or 10 water molecules

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Student presentation from previous BIOT 412 class

what is nanotechnology
What is Nanotechnology
  • The prefix “nano”is a Greek word for “dwarf”
  • One nanometer (nm) is equal to one-billionth of a meter
  • About a width of 6 carbon atoms or 10 water molecules
  • A human hair is approximately 80,000 nm wide
  • Red blood cells is 7000 nm wide
  • Atoms are smaller than 1 nanometer
  • Molecules and some proteins are between 1 nm and above

Intentional design, characterization, production and application of materials, structures, devices and systems by controlling their size, and shape in the nano-scale range (10 - 100nm)

  • Production of matter at the nano scale in order to create materials, devices and systems with fundamentally new properties and functions
  • Two nanoparticles of different size, both made of pure gold, can exhibit
    • different melting temperature
    • different electrical conductivity
    • different color

New way to control the properties of materials

Change size…..instead of changing composition


Research on biosystems at the nanoscale has created one of the most dynamic science and technology domains at the confluence of physical sciences, molecular engineering, biology, biotechnology, and medicine



Most the diseases originate from alterations in biological process at the molecular or nano-scale levels

Mutated genes, mis-folded proteins and infections caused by viruses or bacteria lead to cell malfunction or miscommunication, sometimes leading to life-threatening diseases. These molecules and infectious materials are nanometer in size and may be located in biological systems that are protected by nanometer size barriers such as nuclear pores 9 nm in diameter

  • Aims to use properties and physical characteristics of nanomaterials for diagnosis and treatment of diseases at molecular levels
  • Since nanomaterialsare similar in scale to biologic molecules and systems yet can be engineered to have various functions, nanotechnology is potentially useful for medical applications
  • The surface of nano-materials is usually coated with polymers of bio-recognition molecules for improved biocompatibility and selective targeting of biologic molecules
application of nanotechnology in medicine
Application of Nanotechnology in Medicine


- Imaging

- Quantum dots

- Microscopic sampling

  • Detection of airway abnormalities


  • Deliver medication to exact location
  • Kill bacteria, viruses & cancer cells
  • Repair damaged tissues
  • Oxygen transport
  • Skin and dental care
  • Augment immune system
  • Treat atherosclerosis
diagnostic applications of nanotechnology in medicine
Diagnostic Applications of Nanotechnology in Medicine
  • Improved imaging of human (or any) body
  • Nanoprobes (miniature machines) with magnetic properties can attach themselves to molecules like receptors in the and emit a magnetic field
  • Probes that aren’t attached to anything don’t create a detectable magnetic signal
  • Nano-tracking may be able to detect tumors that are a few cells in size
diagnostic applications of nanotechnology in medicine1
Diagnostic Applications of Nanotechnology in Medicine
  • Another way to use nanotech as tracking devices is to use “quantum dots”
  • These tiny semiconductors are able to emit wavelengths of light (colors) that depend on their size. If quantum dot A is twice as big as quantum dot B, it will emit a different color
  • Quantum dots are better than conventional dyes:
    • They last much longer – more light stable
    • More colors can be made available

FUTURE APPLICATION: microscopic machine roaming through the bloodstream, injecting or taking samples for identification and determining the concentrations of different compounds

therapeutic applications of nanotechnology in medicine
Therapeutic Applications of Nanotechnology in Medicine
  • Nanotech is capable of delivering medication to the exact location where they are needed – hence fewer side effects
    • Organic dendrimers - a type of artificial molecule ~ size of protein = 1 example
therapeutic applications of nanotechnology in medicine1
Therapeutic Applications of Nanotechnology in Medicine
  • Destruction of harmful eukaryotic organisms / cancer cells by interrupting their division process
    • Certain proteins are capable of doing this (e.g., Bc12 family of proteins)
therapeutic applications of nanotechnology in medicine2
Therapeutic Applications of Nanotechnology in Medicine
  • Nanoprobe can be made to generateradiation, that could kill bacteria, viruses and cancer cells
  • Nanoprobe comprising of a single caged actinium-225 atom would detect (using antibodies) and enter a cancerous cell
  • Location and destruction of cancer cells by acoustic signals

Cancer cell

Lethal holes


This shows a normal process unaided by nanotechnology.

Cytotoxic T cell

therapeutic applications of nanotechnology in medicine3
Therapeutic Applications of Nanotechnology in Medicine
  • Mimicking of natural biological processes e.g., repair of damaged tissues
    • Using nanotech to build scaffoldings of artificial molecules that bone cells often adhere to and grow bones on
    • Broken bones would heal much faster.
  • Transport of oxygen within body by creating artificial red blood cell
therapeutic applications of nanotechnology in medicine4
Therapeutic Applications of Nanotechnology in Medicine

To cure skin diseases, cream containing nanorobots possible uses:

- Remove right amount of dead skin cells

- Remove excess oils

- Add missing oils

- Apply the right amounts of natural moisturizing compounds

- Achieve the elusive goal of \'deep pore cleaning\' by actually reaching down into pores and cleaning them out

therapeutic applications of nanotechnology in medicine5
Therapeutic Applications of Nanotechnology in Medicine

A mouthwash full of smart nanomachines could identify and destroy pathogenic bacteria while allowing harmless flora of mouth to flourish in a healthy ecosystem



Dental Robots

Four remote-controlled nanorobots examine and clean the surfaces of a patient\'s teeth, near the gumline.

therapeutic applications of nanotechnology in medicine7
Therapeutic Applications of Nanotechnology in Medicine

Devices working in the bloodstream could nibble away at atherosclerotic deposits, widening the affected blood vessels.

This would prevent most heart attacks

  • Construction of a nano-assembler
    • A machine capable of building nanoprobes on a grand scale
  • The next step would be self-replication of nanoprobes- mitosis
  • Rough estimates say that this will be reached in about 10-20 years


There are many risks too



Nanotoxicology is the study of the toxicity of nanomaterials

Nanomaterials, even when made of inert elements like gold, become highly active at nanometer dimensions

For example: Diesel nanoparticles have been found to damage the cardiovascular system in a mouse model



Andrew Maynard (Nanotechnology: A Research Strategy for Addressing Risks. p. 310.)

  • Reports that certain nanoparticles may move easily into sensitive lung tissues after inhalation, and cause damage that can lead to chronic breathing problems
  • The behavior of nanoparticles is a function of their size, shape and surface reactivity with the surrounding tissue
  • In principle, a large number of particles could overload the body\'s phagocytes that lead to inflammation and weaken the body’s defense against other pathogens

what happens if non-degradable or slowly degradable nanoparticles accumulate in bodily organs

  • Because of their large surface area, nanoparticles will , immediately adsorb onto their surface some of the macromolecules they encounter thus affecting the regulatory mechanisms of enzymes and other protein
  • They can have access to blood stream via inhalation, ingestion and even some nanoparticles can penetrate into the skin

Nanomaterials have proved toxic to human tissue and cell cultures, resulting in increased oxidative stress, inflammatory cytokine production and cell death (Oberdörster, Günter; et al. (2005).

  • Can cause DNA mutation and induce major structural damage to mitochondria, even resulting in cell death (Geiser, Marianne; et al. (November 2005)

Must learn what is toxic and how

  • Modify to decrease toxicity
  • Develop new ways to evaluate toxicity
  • Evaluate toxicity early in product development process