What is nanomedicine?
Nanomotor – courtesy of Berkeley Lab
Nanomedicine is the medical application of nanotechnology that will hopefully lead to useful research tools, advanced drug delivery systems, and new ways to treat disease or repair damaged tissues and cells. Drug delivery is currently the most advanced application of nanotechnology in medicine.
Nanoscale particles are being developed to improve drug bioavailability, a major limitation in the design of new drugs. Poor bioavailability is especially problematic with newer and still experimental RNA interference therapy. Lipid or polymer-based nanoparticles are taken up by cells due to their small size, rather than being cleared from the body.
These nanoparticles can be used to shuttle drugs into cells which may not have accepted the drug on its own. The nanoparticle chaperone may also be able to specifically target certain cell types, possibly reducing toxicity and improving efficacy.