EconomyNanobots could benefit patients with catastrophic diseases

Nanobots could benefit patients with catastrophic diseases

(Expansion) – The use of the ultra-tiny, almost unimaginable, is the field of study of nanotechnology. Although it is applied in many disciplines of science, in the area of health it has presented a relevant development and its projection into the future is highly promising.

To begin we will have to understand what this nanotechnology is. It is the use of particles created in the laboratory from other molecules and that have the characteristic of being extremely small. Its size will range by definition in the dimension from 1 to 100 nanometers (one billionth of a meter). To put what we are talking about in context: a human hair is 60,000 nanometers in diameter.

The application of nanotechnology for medical purposes has been called nanomedicine and is currently understood as the use of nanomaterials or nanostructures for the diagnosis, monitoring, control, prevention and treatment of diseases.

This technology can be used in different areas of health:

1) Diagnosis by means of nanostructured surfaces or nanoanalytical probes for the detection of substances or molecules in much lower concentrations than those detectable with current technologies.

2) Controlled delivery of drugs with microstructures that have optical, chemical, magnetic, electrical or biological properties that allow knowing their behavior within biological systems.

3) Combat bacterial resistance to antibiotics and others. We will talk more and more about concepts such as nanoblades, nanotubes or nanocapsules in scientific and outreach conversations.

Unlike other molecules found spontaneously in nature, nanomolecules, which are the product of human design, will have characteristics that make them specific for certain biophysical reactions. They may have a certain structural reconfiguration when exposed to the level of acidity of the human body that allows said nanoparticle to lodge or direct itself to specific sites that other larger substances would not achieve, for example, the damaged area of the heart after a heart attack.

A peculiarity of these molecules is that they are produced with the purpose of having predictable half-lives and being eliminated by mechanisms where the intervention of human organs is not necessary.

A very recent example of the usefulness of nanomedicine has to do with the Moderna and Pfizer BioNTech anti-SARS-CoV2 vaccines. These vaccines based on messenger RNA (mRNA) technology were designed using lipid nanoparticle capsules that protected the fragile mRNA from biodegradation upon entering the body and thus being able to reach the cells of the immune system, which is the site where the The vaccine has its action of inducing the production of antibodies to protect humans from COVID-19.

In the treatment of malignant neoplasms, these “nanovehicles” adjacent to chemotherapy treatments may reduce the side effects of anticancer therapies and potentially improve the prognosis and tolerance of treatments by directly targeting the site where the tumor cell is carrying out its uncontrolled growth.

Studies in preclinical phases are already being carried out in medical centers around the world. Glioblastoma (a very aggressive type of brain cancer) and breast cancer may see advances in treatment with these technologies in the next 10 years.

In the future, the application of these nanotechnologies in molecules that respond to “orders” could constitute the beginning of the use of “nanobots” with therapeutic indications linked to computer systems and artificial intelligence that would allow the intervention and treatment of diseases. An example of this are the microrollers developed by the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart.

These nanoparticles have, on the one hand, microaggregates with magnetic characteristics and, on the other, they have antibodies to combat cancer; Thus, through magnetic fields, these nanotherapies can be sent to the specific sites where the drug should act, eliminating the effect on healthy tissues.

Armies of intelligent nanobots will be able to benefit thousands of patients with catastrophic illnesses that are incurable today. Many more scientific studies and technological validations will be necessary to make these molecules commercially available. What is certain is that they will be a fundamental part of the future of health.

what the doctor meant

To understand nanomedicine, I invite you to imagine armies of tiny soldiers (the bots) that will travel through our bodies equipped with biochemical tools to fix whatever is wrong: destroy a tumor, repair a tissue, rebuild a bone or reconnect our neurons. (I think some could use that service… but that’s more of a conversation for Political Expansion!).

Speaking of health, it is clear that this biomedical technology will allow greater specificity in clinical treatments that will make doctors’ dreams come true: being able to get inside the body, to explore and understand what is happening in a specific area, accurately diagnose and treat their patients with high chances of cure.

Now, what worries me is that these bots – short for robots – end up looking like the ones that wreak havoc on social networks, created using artificial intelligence software to impose ideas, attack opponents and even promote presidents. Spooky!


Publisher’s Notes:

This column is part of the ‘The Future of Health’ serial .

Check out this week’s episode:

Fernando Castilleja is an internist and an expert in lifestyle medicine and health innovation. Professor at the Tec de Monterrey School of Medicine for 20 years. Co-founder of NuupHealth and CEO of Genethic Services. Mentor Endeavor, McCombs Business School at UT Austin, HealthIDS and CONACYT Binational Innovation Nodes. Follow him on and/or on .

Juana Ramírez is founder, CEO and Chairwoman of Grupo SOHIN. President of the Warriors Foundation. Entrepreneur Endeavor. President of the Board of Directors of the Association of Entrepreneurs of Mexico. Author of the initiative “Medicine with M for Women”. University professor at UP and IPADE Business School. Follow her on and/or on .

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