What Are the Risks of Developing Nanotechnology in Medicine?

Nanotechnology is a combination of two words: nano and technology. And it can be defined as the branch of technology that uses atoms and molecules to build microscopic and more complex devices. This innovation has gained immense recognition across several fields, including engineering, physics, chemistry, and medicine. In medicine, nanotechnology has found application in drug administration, diseased cells detection, treatment of surgical wounds, and a lot more. However, nanotechnology is still an area that is being developed in medicine. But despite the several advantages of developing nanotechnology in medicine, its application is fraught with a lot of risks. And they are as follows:

  • Environmental pollution: The use of nanotechnology in medicine can lead to the pollution of hospitals and laboratories. The most common types of pollutants in nanomedicine are from nanofibres. The diameter of these fibres is less than 1,000nm. And they are used to produce medical supplies such as surgical textiles and wound dressers. The nanofibres are also used as components of the materials involved in the production of implants and artificial organs. As a result of the size of the nano fibres, they are easily inhaled into the lungs. And they are quickly absorbed by the skin. Another risk is that when there are too many nanofibres in the lungs, it can result in breathing problems. Likewise, the fibres absorbed by the skin can eventually block some sweat ducts. This type of environmental pollution seems inconsequential, but it poses a great risk to human health.
  • Discomfort in the body: Some nanoparticles are being used for drug administration. The minute sizes of the nanoparticles make it easy to deliver a high level of medications to the targeted cells. And in some cases, the nanoparticles are also employed to distribute the drugs to several other cells within the same region in the body. For example, in the treatment of breast cancer, nanostructured lipid carriers are engaged to carry a high-level drug named melatonin into cells that causes human breast cancer. To carry out the procedure involved in employing the nanostructured lipid carriers to distribute the melatonin, medical personnel would need to perform minor surgery that would ensure the delivery of the drug to the diseased cells. The procedure would cause significant discomfort to the body for a few hours and in some individuals, the pain can last for several days.
  • The introduction of new diseases: Nanofibres and nanoparticles are a combination of different nanomolecules. When such nanomolecules get into the human body especially during drug administration, they may be reactive to some components of the drug. And when the cells of the body come in contact with reactive compounds, it can lead to mutation and emergence of new diseases such as cancer.

Bottom Line

We believe that some of the risks involved in developing nanotechnology in medicine are expected and can be avoided if everyone is educated about this technology. So, before you accept to undergo any medical procedure that involves nanotechnology, educate yourself more about the risk involved.

Photo Credit: 123rf