Nanotechnology is a area of science that involves working with materials and devices on a nanoscale level. On scalable terms, a nanometer is approximately 1/80,000 of the diameter of a human hair, or 10 times the diameter of a hydrogen atom. Its functions are spread across all areas of sciences including physics, chemistry, and biology. Nanotechnology has grown in leaps and bounds over the last few yearsÔÇöapplications of this technology in the field of medicine have been an important spin-off. Many biological structures are at nanometer scale. For example, a quantum dot is approximately the size of a small protein (less than 10nm) and drug-carrying nanostructures are the same size as some viruses (less than 100nm). Applications of nanotechnology for the treatment, diagnosis, monitoring, and control of biological systems has recently been referred to as 'NanomedicineÔÇÖ by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Nanostructures display unique mechanical, electrical, chemical, and optical properties. Understanding and controlling such properties is challenging, but harnessing them will provide exciting new opportunities for research, diagnosis, and therapy of heart, lung, blood, and sleep (HLBS) disorders.1
Nanotechnology will offer the tools to explore the frontiers of medical science at a cellular level. It can provide novel techniques in the treatment of a multitude of diseases, including cardiovascular disorders. Richard Feynman, winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics, was a pioneer in area of nanotechnology. In his famous 1959 speech 'There is plenty of room at the bottom,ÔÇÖ he emphasized the role of nanotechnology in cardiac sciences and envisioned the potential applications of nanotechnology in cardiovascular medicine.2
The tools offered by nanotechnology in medical and cardiac sciences are in the areas of diagnosis, imaging, and tissue engineering. Applying nanotechnology methods has offered insight into the potential benefits of nanotechnology in cardiovascular sciences.Although the benefits of nanotechnology transcend all specialties of medicine, one of the important applications of nanomedicine is in the area of cardiovascular sciences.
- Buxton DB, Lee SC,Wickline SA, FerrariM, for the Working Group Members, Recommendations of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Nanotechnology Working Group Circulation (2003); 108: pp. 2737-2742.
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- Feynman RP, There's plenty of room at the bottom , Eng Sci (Caltech) (1960); 23: pp. 22-36.
- American Heart Association, Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics - 2004 Update, Dallas,TX: American Heart Association (2003).
- Ernest H, Rahul S, Impact of nanotechnology on biomedical sciences. Review of current concepts on convergence of nanotechnology with biology , Online Journal of Nanotechnology (2005)
- Takabayashi KK, Fujikawa T, Suzuki S, et al., Implementation and Evaluation of Computerized Patient Management Problems , Medinfo (Canada) (1995); 8 Pt 2; pp. 1218-1221.
- Ferreira A, Mavroidis C, Virtual Reality and Haptics for Nano Robotics:A Review Study , IEEE Robotics and Automation Magazine (2005); in press.
- Roco MC, Nanotechnology - A Frontier for Engineering Education , International Journal of Engineering Education (2002); 18(5).