Nanotechnology has made great strides in biology and medicine in the past year. Here is a list of the top 10 developments in Nanodermatology in 2013, as compiled by the Nanodermatology Society. These topics will be the subject of multiple talks and two sessions at the American Academy of Dermatology Annual Meeting on March 21-25, 2014 in Denver. This, however, is just a sampling of the topics to be covered and world class speakers in medical nanotechnology.
Biological barriers - the skin, mucosal membranes, the blood-brain barrier and cell/nuclear membranes - seriously limit the delivery of drugs into the desired sites within the body, resulting in a low delivery efficacy, poor therapeutic efficacy, and high cost. Nanomedicine researchers have developed numerous biological, chemical, and physical strategies to overcome these barriers. This article highlights recent advanced physical approaches for transdermal and intracellular delivery.
An artificial brain building program has created a process of circuit evolution similar to the human brain in an organic molecular layer. The research team has now finalized their human brain model and introduced the concept of a new class of computer which does not use any circuit or logic gate. The kind of CMOS based integrated chip that forms the core of existing supercomputers will not be used in this kind of computer. The team uses the term brain jelly to describe their purely organic computing architecture.
Numerous previous research results have shown that gold nanorods (Au NRs) are able to effectively kill tumors upon irradiation with high laser doses, leading to hyperthermia-induced destruction of cancer cells (photodynamic therapy, PTT). In new work, researchers have demonstrated for the first time that bare gold nanorods alone can exert unprecedented photodynamic therapeutic (PDT) effects to result in cancer cellular deaths at low laser doses. Moreover, it appears that Au NRs-mediated PDT effects are far more effective in destruction of tumors in mice than the Au NRs-mediated PTT effects.
Following extensive research in the field of bionano-interfaces, it is now well understood that the primary interaction of biological species with nanoparticles is strongly dependent to the long-lived protein corona, i.e. a strongly adsorbed protein layer at the surface of nanoparticles. The amount, composition, and exposure site of the associated proteins in the long-lived protein corona can define the biological response to the nanoparticles and hence reveal their biological fate. Scientists have now shown that laser plasmonic heat induction leads to significant changes in the protein corona composition at the surface of gold nanorods.
Researchers demonstrate a strategy for the fabrication of memristive nanodevices with stable and tunable performance by assembling ferritin monolayer inside a on-wire lithography-generated 12 nm gap. This work work uses the unique high iron loading capacity of Archaeoglobus fulgidus ferritin. The iron loading in the nanocages drastically impacts the performance of the memristive devices. The higher iron loading amount contributes to better memristive performance due to higher electrochemical activity of the ferric complex core.
Advances in materials, fabrication strategies and device designs for flexible and stretchable electronics and sensors make it possible to envision a not-too-distant future where ultra-thin, flexible circuits based on inorganic semiconductors can be wrapped and attached to any imaginable surface, including body parts and even internal organs. Robotic technologies will also benefit as it becomes possible to fabricate electronic skin ('e-skin') that, for instance, could allow surgical robots to interact, in a soft contacting mode, with their surroundings through touch.
Advances in micro- and nanoscale engineering in the medical field have led to the development of various robotic designs that one day will allow a new level of minimally invasive medicine. These micro- and nanorobots will be able to reach a targeted area, provide treatments and therapies for a desired duration, measure the effects and, at the conclusion of the treatment, be removed or degrade without causing adverse effects. Ideally, all these tasks would be automated but they could also be performed under the direct supervision and control of an external user.