Nanotechnology is changing the future of medicine by enabling the promises of precision medicine to be put into practice. The wide implementation of nanotechnologies and nanomaterials in practice, not without reason, fuels hopes for the successful solution of many medical problems, such as the production of effective drugs for diagnosing and overcoming still incurable diseases and, as a result, increasing the length of human life. It can become a key to chronic diseases treatment (for example, diabetes treatment or Alzheimer’s disease treatment). Nanomedicine will soon also be used for the diagnosis of brain tumors, such as gliomas, simply by detecting genetic mutations in DNA at the peripheral level. For this reason, the potential discoveries in treatment for chronic diseases that nanomedicine can offer are an important and exciting subject of study.
Nanomedicines: advanced treatment
Nanomedicine is a branch of medicine that deals with the biomedical applications of nanotechnology to improve the treatment, diagnosis, and prevention of diseases. Nanotechnologies are based on the use of nanomaterials, that is, structures in the order of magnitude of 1-100 nanometers (1 nanometer is one billionth of a meter, 1 nm = 10-9 m). To be clear, a human cell is about 1,000-10,000 times larger than a nanoparticle. Structures of this size have particular properties, and we can use them in the medical field for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. In the pharmacological field, nanomaterials allow the construction of microscopic vectors (nanovectors or nanocarriers) that can transport drugs and improve their distribution in tissues and organs of interest. Nanotechnologies raise great expectations and can provide new and effective solutions for many diseases, such as oncological, cardiovascular, and neurodegenerative diseases, and promise to have a major impact in all fields of medicine.
Nanomaterials and nanoparticles
The nanoparticles are assembled from various biocompatible and non-toxic materials. Based on their chemical composition, nanoparticles have very different structures and properties. Nanoparticles such as liposomes and micelles are the most used in pharmacological research. The nanoparticles can be imagined as microscopic balls with internal cavities that can contain drugs. Their primary purpose is to be able to deliver drugs selectively to diseased cells without affecting healthy tissues and other vital organs. It is about putting the concept of precision medicine into practice: giving the right drug in a targeted way and with maximum effectiveness. The application of this apparently simple principle has the potential to greatly influence therapies for cancer patients and those suffering from many other diseases, considerably increasing the safety, tolerability, and efficacy of drugs compared to current therapies.
Nanotechnologies are destined to change the future of medicine, enabling the promised goals of precision medicine and personalized new treatments to be implemented. The terms nanomaterials and nanotechnology can raise doubts and concerns in non-professionals, as often happens for the novelties of which we do not fully understand the bases and the potential. Still, the biomedical applications of nanotechnologies should not scare us. On the contrary, nanotechnology gives us new hope for many diseases that afflict us. They represent an innovative way of addressing the problems of disease treatment and prevention by leveraging the most advanced knowledge of chemistry, physics, and biomedical sciences.