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TED Talk Slides

How Nanotech Can Help Healthcare in the Future.
Nanotechnology holds the promise of changing and improving the world in fundamental ways. While this technology is making things like invisibility cloaks a reality, it can also change the way researchers are approaching disease prevention and treatment. Nanotechnology holds the potential for healthcare, from diagnosing diseases more rapidly, delivering drugs more rapidly to delivering vaccines via patches and aerosols. Before delving into some of the applications of nanotechnology in healthcare, it is imperative to shed light on its meaning.
Nanotechnology is the of manipulating matter at the subatomic level(particles smaller than 100 nanometers).The technology involves developing devices or materials in that dimension, often a hundred times thinner than the width of a human hair and invincible to the human eye. A major application of nanotechnology is in the delivery of drugs to specific types of cells such as cancer cells. Particles are altered so that they can be attracted diseased cancer or diabetes cells. Direct delivery of medicine to cells minimizes damage to healthy cells. This can change the way physicians treat cancer and dramatically reduce the toxic effects of chemotherapy (Farokhzad & Langer, 2009). However, drug delivery is just the tip of the iceberg. There are numerous ways that nanotechnology can be used to make drug delivery more efficient and less unpleasant for the patient. Some technologies are at their novel stages while others are only imagined. However, the potential of nanotechnology and nanoparticles in drug delivery is immense.
Another area of application of nanotechnology is in regenerative medicine. Regenerative medicine attempts to restore damaged or lost living tissue. It is an interdisciplinary field that has been made possible by nanotechnology, bioengineering. Nanotechnology could provide new strategies and approaches to generative medicine, including new tools for the restoration of damaged cells. Stem cells play a crucial role in the repair of damaged human tissues. Researchers have established that the surrounding microenvironment plays a critical role in the growth, differentiation, and adhesion of stem cells. Nano topography (the specific surface features) plays a significant role in the behavior and functioning of stem cells. Raffa et al. (2010) also examine the use of nanoparticles to stem tracking, imaging, and isolation and conclude that understanding the interaction of nanomaterials with stem cells may help in the development of cell-scaffold combinations in regenerative medicine and tissue engineering.
Nanotechnology has enabled better diagnostic tools that are paving the way for more accurate diagnosis, more individualized interventions, and better therapeutic outcomes. Nanotechnology researchers are looking at ways this technology can improve the development and delivery of vaccines to the human body without the need for needles. Nano-scaffolding is arguably the best way of developing a particle-based vaccine. A vaccine must include antigens (parts of the target), which trains the immune system to recognize and attack it. Novel research in nano-scaffolding shows that good results are obtained when nano-particles are used to pack and deliver antigens.
When implementing any new technology, risks and safety issues must be considered. The ethical and safe use of nanotechnology in healthcare is undoubtedly of utmost concern. When using this technology, healthcare institutions and practitioners ought to be cautious about risks related to privacy, effectiveness, safety, and liability. Inhalation of nanoparticles may be detrimental to organs such as the lungs, liver, spleen, and the brain.
Farokhzad, O. C., & Langer, R. (2009). Impact of nanotechnology on drug delivery. ACS nano, 3(1), 16-20.
Raffa, V., Vittorio, O., Riggio, C., & Cuschieri, A. (2010). Progress in nanotechnology for healthcare. Minimally Invasive Therapy & Allied Technologies, 19(3), 127-135.


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