“Nanotechnology is manufacturing with atoms”
— William Powell
Nanotechnology entails all technology with a size between 0.1 and 100 nanometres (a billionth of a metre). This makes a lot of what is considered nanotechnology smaller than the average virus. Nanotech spans a large and diverse terrain with many applications in healthcare: it plays a role in diagnostics, repair, therapy, microsurgery and the delivery of medication and other agents to the body.
Application & benefits
Current benefits and applications of nanotech are diverse and the field has a lot of potential. Improvements of existing diagnostic techniques, such as better contrast fluids via nanoparticles, lead to more accurate diagnostics [1, 2]. Nanoparticles are effective in treatments due to their high mobility and reactivity . They are small enough to pass through most biological barriers and reactions take place more quickly because of their large reaction surface. This gives medication at the nano level a higher biological availability plus it can be administered more selectively . This allows for a lower dosage to achieve the same local effect with fewer side effects. In addition, specific information can be retrieved by implanting or ingesting nanorobots and sensors. Nanotechnology is used in the treatment of various types of cancer, among other things . Another application involves the development of nanozymes; nano materials that behave like natural proteins . Finally, the use of biomedical nanotechnologies is valuable for 3D bone printing and bioprinting: thanks to nanotech, hierarchical structures and compositions of bone-related tissue can be produced . In short, nanotech results in personalised, more effective, more efficient and higher quality healthcare [7, 8, 9].
The global nanotech market is growing: in 2020 the market value sat at $75.8 billion. This amount will increase to a market value of $290.9 billion by 2028. Annual growth amounts to over eighteen percent and is driven by increasing demand, technological progress and a lot of investments in research . The field where nanotech is currently being used the most is oncology. Most of the growth, however, is expected in the cardiovascular segment due to major developments in this area, e.g. stents with nanostructures and nano implants to help vascular structures regenerate [10-14].
Growing investments in healthcare technology
Changing healthcare needs
New technological capabilities
Limiting guidelines, legislation and regulations
High costs (development, purchase, and maintenance)
Immaturity of the application
Nanotech applications often have drawbacks and are inhibited by limiting legislation and regulations. In addition, the trend is facing challenges as a whole due to the potential toxicity of nanoparticles: nanopollution. But the development of the technology in healthcare is constant. Thanks to large investments in nanotech, needs can be addressed. Pharmaceutical companies are also being stimulated to invest in nanotech, by re-registering expired patents as nanotech.
Nanotechnology has huge potential to contribute to future-oriented healthcare and support: nanotech makes it possible to improve (existing) techniques and therapies and make them cheaper and more reliable. The great reactivity and mobility that make nanoparticles so effective, are also a reason for concern due to nanopollution of the living environment and toxicity for humans. While science and society are trying to solve this problem, nanotechnology is contributing to the evolution of the bionic human and autonomic systems.
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- Ravindran S, Suthar JK, Rokade R, Deshpande P, Singh P, Pratinidhi A, et al., Pharmacokinetics, Metabolism, Distribution and Permeability of Nanomedicine, Current drug metabolism, 2018;19(4):327-34.
- Emergen Research, Nanotechnology Market Size, Share, Trends, By Type (Nanomaterials, Nanocomposites, Nano devices, Nano tools), By Industry (Food and Agriculture, Healthcare, Information and Technology, Environment, Energy, Cosmetics), and By Region, Forecast to 2028, 2021 [Available from https://www.emergenresearch.com/industry-report/nanotechnology-market]
- Wang, H., Cui, Z., Wang, X., Sun, S. Zhang, D. & Fu, C., Therapeutic Applications of Nanozymes in Chronic Inflammatory Diseases, BioMed Research International, 2021.
- Wang, Z., Agrawal, P. & Zhang, Y.S., Nanotechnologies and Nanomaterials in 3D (Bio)printing toward Bone Regeneration, Advanced NanoBiomed Research, 2021.
- Sim, S. & Wong, N.K., Nanotechnology and its use in imaging and drug delivery (Review), Biomedical Reports, 2021; 14(5).
- Chritchley L., The Rise of Nanomedicine. 2018.
- Reports and Data, Nanomedicine Market Analysis By Products, By Drug Delivery System, By Application, And Segment Forecasts, 2017-2026, 2019, [Available from: https://www.reportsanddata.com/report-detail/nanomedicine-market]
- Market Intelligence, Service Robotics Market Size, Growth | Forecasts (2018 – 2023), 2018
- Radiant Insights, Nanotechnology Market is Expected to Grow at an Impressive CAGR of 17% Between 2017 – 2024 : Industry Share Report, 2018
- Transparency Market Research, Global Nanotechnology Drug Delivery Market to Register 12.5% CAGR as Focus on Development of More Effective Drug Delivery Methods Rise, 2018 [Available from: https://www.transparencymarketresearch.com/pressrelease/nanotechnology-drug-delivery.htm.]
- Bakola V, Karagkiozaki V, Pappa F, Tsiapla AR, Pavlidou E, Moutsios I, et al., Drug Delivery Nanosystems for Cardiovascular Stents, Materials Today: Proceedings, 2017;4(7, Part 1):6869-79.
- Funda, G., Taschieri, S., Bruno, G.A., Grecchi, E., Paolo, S., Girolamo, D. & Del Fabbro, M., Nanotechnology Scaffolds for Alveolar Bone Regeneration, Materials (Basel), 2020 [Available from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31947750/]