Nanotechnology is technology used to analyse or perform on a microscopic scale. However, this is not simply a liberally applied distinction referring to smaller sized objects. Rather, it refers to the examination of objects on such a level that they become subject to smaller structures. That is to say, that object under examination becomes a system of smaller objects. Essentially, it seeks the classification of biological essence on an atomic and molecular scale.
In relation to medicine and biological systems, nanotechnology is important as it assists in categorising important distinctions within the system of the working body and allows for better understanding and identification of the functioning of bio-systems. This is particularly notable when considering the potential differences in the make up of each individual’s body across a general selection of people. It is due to this that the employment of nanotechnology has become prevalent in medicine and biology as well as many other fields of study.
The development of nanotechnology in this medical field can be traced to the onset of revolutionary advances through a cross section of domains, such as the confluence of the physical sciences, molecular engineering, biology, biotechnology and medicine (Roco 380). This has been accentuated by the influx of products aimed at complimenting the use of nanotechnology within the medical domain (Caruthers 29). The main impact of nanotechnology in relation to medical development would appear to be aimed at the improvement of health by enhancing the efficacy and safety of already existent nano-systems and use of nano-devices.
This can be seen in the products based on nanotechnology in medicine and medical technology reaching the market at an ever expanding rate. However, the effects of nanotechnology on human medicine are perhaps less straight forward. It is with this that we will now turn in an attempt to bring out the role of nanotechnology in the medical world. Nanotechnology has been applied to medical science through a number of channels since the onset of developmental technology was introduced.
For instance, the manufacture of systems devices at a molecular level have begun a school of science based upon a multi-disciplinary combination of backgrounds. This was perhaps realised when the worldwide emergence of nano-scale scientific development and engineering was marked by the announcement of the NNI (the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) in January of 2000. Information regarding the effects of nanotechnology on medicine has come to bear in subsequent researches looking into bio-systems and how they can be assisted by nanotechnology and the associated tools.
These studies have traditionally focused upon the exploration of medicine at a nano-scale level, which itself has created the dynamic of a multidisciplinary approach to science and technology. Many of the researches have pointed out some of the effects of nanotechnology on medical research in terms of economic benefits. For instance, Emerich states that ‘miniaturisation provides cost effective and more rapidly functioning mechanical, chemical and biological components‘ (655).
However, in the same study it has also been indicated that while there are obvious economic benefits in nanotechnology, there are also less obvious benefits in effect that make research and development a more versatile practice. Emerich states in relation to these benefits that ‘though is the fact that nanometre sized objects also possess remarkable self-ordering and assembly behaviours under the control of forces quite different from macro objects’ (655).