Nanotechnology is the frontier of modern medicine, but it has already been in use almost two decades. PillCams were first approved by the FDA in 2001, and by 2008 they had already been used in more than 2 million procedures. By 2024 nanotechnology will be a $125 billion global industry. So what’s next in the world of medical nanotechnology?
Nanotech pills were the first major frontier in medical nanotech, and in addition to Pillcams there are also Dose Tracking Pills and the Vibrant Capsule.
The Vibrant Capsule vibrates in a patient’s stomach to jumpstart digestion and relieve constipation without medical intervention, and therefore no side effects from medication.
Dose tracking pills are tackling another major issue in the medical world - treatment non-adherence, which costs $290 billion in the United States alone. These nano pills track the amount of medicine released into a patient’s system and when, transmitting that information to doctors who can then be sure their treatment plan is being followed.
There are ethical concerns, however, from patients who may feel pressured into taking medications they don’t want to take or even mental health patients who feel it confirms their suspicions about being persecuted by medical providers.
Nanobots are another technology that is currently being perfected. They are being used in delicate procedures such as eye surgeries, where microscopic precision is crucial. They are being used as a less invasive way to clear blocked arteries and also collect biopsy samples. There are micromotors that treat stomach ulcers with fewer side effects, and cancer-fighting bots that clot cancerous tissues so they die.
Nanotechnology is also solving problems with vaccination rates and wound care in places where medical intervention is scarce. Nanopatch vaccines eliminate the need for refrigeration, bulky medical items, and even medical personnel. Meanwhile, smart bandages can detect and fight infection and excess bleeding.
How will nanotechnology revolutionize medical care? Learn more from the infographic below.