Bio-Nanotechnology and the Role of Nanomedicines

Bio-Nanotechnology and the Role of Nanomedicines
Bio-Nanotechnology and the Role of Nanomedicines

Authored by Deborah Agboola

June 17, 2020

Over the years, nanotechnology has been gradually assimilated into our daily routines – from the common door sensors to bio-imaging nano-devices. With a large number of already available nanotechnological products, scientists now strive towards the further development of nanotechnology-related processes and devices in scientific fields.

Bio-Nanotechnology

Bio-nanotechnology – otherwise called nanobiology or nanobiotechnology – applies the concept and techniques of molecular biology to engineering processes in the fabrication of devices on the nanoscale, thus providing the opportunity of mimicking biological structures’ functionalities with molecular-level precision.

These modified bio-functions entail the self-assembling ability of their amphiphilic peptides for the nano-creation of molecular systems and supramolecular structures.

Applications of Nanomedicine

With humanity still battling a multitude of illnesses and diseases, the need to address these problems with lasting solutions is critical. Nanotechnological applications in medicine have provided potential solutions to formerly regarded incurable diseases like cancer, and this has hiked interest in its field. Below are a few nanotechnological applications utilized within the discipline:

  • Drug delivery and vaccines
  • Blood purification
  • Tissue engineering

Drug Delivery and Vaccines

This is by far the most developed aspect of nano-medicine due to its potentials in the modification of solubility, diffusivity, immunogenicity, drug release profiles, and bioavailability. There are two modern nanomaterial drug delivery methods, namely: the passive method and the self-delivery method.

Passive method – involves the embedment of the drug in the nanostructure via a hydrophobic effect. The material is programmed to release the drug on its arrival at the target site of action. This method is highly precise, as just the intended amount is delivered to the site.

Self-delivery method – Here, the active pharmaceutical ingredient is conjugated to the nanostructure for delivery. However, the drug dissociates rapidly from the carrier – even before getting to its target – affecting both bioavailability and efficacy. Therefore, the timing of the release is crucial.

Objectives of Nano-drug Delivery

  • Delivery of drugs with poor solubility and absorption.
  • For site-specific targeting of drugs to reduce accumulation in healthy tissues.
  • Improvement of drug retention in the body for effective treatment.
  • Enhancement of drug bioactivity via protection from the biological environment.

 Blood Purification

The conventional approach to the treatment of several pathological conditions is the direct removal of toxic compounds from the bloodstream.

But unlike low molecular weight compounds, which are easily eliminated through membrane-based processes, high molecular weight compounds can only be accessed via sorption-based procedures. However, these methods raised controversies due to their potential side effects, such as loss of blood platelets, coagulation tendencies, and inflammation possibilities.

Recently, nanotechnological particles have shown tremendous capabilities in binding to high molecular weight compounds to form complex compounds, which can then be magnetized from the bloodstream. This ability is enhanced by their high surface-to-volume ration and mobility that allows short diffusion distances and increases binding efficacy. The performance of its blood purification process is determined by:

  • Target-ligand binding.
  • Throughput effect.
  • Efficiency of the magnetic separation process.

Tissue Engineering

This is an interdisciplinary field comprised of engineering, material science, medicine, and biology in the development of bio-substitutes to restore, replace, maintain and enhance the functionality of either tissues or organs, such as cancer or tumor-impaired organelles.

It operates under the principle of performance in appropriate bioreactor conditions to prompt the reassembly of cells seeded or recruited into 3D-compatible scaffolds into functional tissues resembling native ones.

Before the advent of nanotechnology in tissue engineering, several challenges such as the inability of engineered tissues to vascularise properly, immunological incompatibility with the host, and absence of functional cells were faced.

However, with nanotechnology, those challenges have been subdued with a developed accuracy on positioning and viability of tissues, and practical tools to improve cell adhesion and vascularization.

Methods incorporated in the nanotechnology tissue engineering include biomimetic coating, electro-spinning, soft lithography, electrolytic disposition, and pH induction.

The advancements in nanotechnology and its prospective developments have brought truth to the saying; In a world of science, there is no impossibility.

Diagnostics

Nano-devices have been used as highly sensitive biomarkers affirmed as ultra-stable and remarkably durable over a long time. These devices are divided into two categories based on their site of application:

In-Vivo Diagnostics – operates under the principle of specific molecular recognition owed to the affinity between parallel structures such as antibody-antigen, enzyme-substrate, etc. The use of nanomaterials in bio-sensors tremendously improves bio-signaling and transduction mechanisms, showing high potentials in bio-molecular recognition, pathogen diagnosis, and environment monitoring.

In-Vitro Diagnostics – This is highly beneficial in the identification of inflammation locus, visualization of vascular structures, the examination of anatomy, detection of unexpected drug accumulations in the bloodstream, and research on controlled drug delivery and distribution. It makes use of techniques such as optical imaging, spectroscopy, nuclear imaging, magnetic resonance imaging, and ultrasound in its procedures.

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About The Author

Deborah Agboola

Deborah Agboola is an intense writer with a vivid imagination. She developed her passion for writing at the early age of 6 and has since enhanced her skills from short fictional stories to technical SEO writing and article writing. She is a sucker for sci-fi , mystery and horror novels and when she is not neck-deep in a book, you can always find her doing meditations or engaging in fitness exercises. Deborah has provided her skills as a ghostwriter independently and via online freelance platforms like upwork.com, to aid individuals and corporate bodies achieve their goals through interestingly articulated write-ups.

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