Nanobots and Targeted Drug Delivery

Nanobots and Targeted Drug Delivery

“Take two nanobots and call me in the morning”, said the doctor. Wondering what this term nanobot is and why to eat them? Well, don’t worry if you don’t know this. Continue reading this article as you will be delighted to know about this interesting topic.

What is a Nanobot?

A nanorobot is a machine that can build and manipulate things precisely at an atomic level. Imagine a robot that can pluck, pick and place atoms as a kid plays with LEGO bricks, able to build anything from basic atomic building blocks. Nanobots are ~50–100 nm wide.

Nanorobots are Nanodevices used to maintain and protect the human body against pathogens. Nanorobots are implemented by using several components such as sensors, actuators, control, power, communication and interfacing cross-special scales between organic and inorganic systems.

Most historians credit the concept of nanotechnology to physicist Richard Feynman and his 1959 speech, “There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom

In his speech, Feynman imagined a day when machines could be miniaturized and vast amounts of information could be encoded in minuscule spaces, paving the way for disruptive technological developments.

'Nanotechnology in medicine is going to have a major impact on the survival of the human race. -- Bernard Marcus' Click To Tweet

But it was K. Eric Drexler’s 1986 book, Engines of Creation: The Coming Era of Nanotechnology, which put the idea on the map. Drexler posited the idea of self-replicating nanomachines: machines that build other machines.

Nanotechnology is the science, engineering, and technology conducted at the nanoscale which is about 1 to 100 nanometers. Essentially, it’s manipulating and controlling materials at the atomic and molecular level.

We can use Nanorobots in different application areas such as medicine and space technology. These nanobots can play a crucial role in Bio-Medicine, to treat cancer, cerebral Aneurysm, removal of kidney stones, elimination of defected parts in the DNA structure, and for some other treatments that need utmost support to save human lives.

How are these built and how they work?

Since the best way to create a nanobot is to use another nanobot, the problem lies in getting started. Humans can perform one nano-function at a time, but the thousands of varied applications required to construct an autonomous robot would be tedious for us to execute by hand, no matter how high-tech the laboratory. So it becomes necessary to create an entire set of specialized machine-tools to speed the process of nanobot building.

The ideal nanobot comprises a transporting mechanism, an internal processor and a fuel unit of some kind that enables it to function. The major difficulty arises around this fuel unit since most conventional forms of robotic propulsion can’t be shrunk to the nanoscale with current technology. 

The development of nanorobots is done by using various approaches, such as

Biochip

The combination of nanotechnology, photo-lithography and new biomaterials, can be considered as a viable way required for designing technology to develop nanorobots for medical applications such as diagnosis and drug delivery. This realistic approach in designing nanorobots is a methodology which is used in the electronic industries.

Nubots

Nubot is an acronym for “nucleic acid robots.” Nubots are man-made robotics devices at the Nanoscale. These would be more like viruses carrying nucleic information.

Bacteria Based Nano Robots

For this approach, the use of biological micro-organism bacterium E-coli is used. A flagellum is used for propulsion by this model and electromagnetic field is applied to control the motion for this kind of approach.

Nanobots in medicine and Targeted Drug Delivery

They can be used for drug delivery. Normally, drugs work through the entire body before they reach the disease-affected area. Using nanotechnology, we can target the drug to a precise location which would make the drug much more effective and reduce the chances of potential side effects.

Nanobots in Surgery.

We introduce surgical nanorobots into the human body through vascular systems and other cavities. Surgical nanorobots act as a semi-autonomous on-site surgeon inside the human body and are programmed or directed by a human surgeon. This programmed surgical nanorobot performs various functions like searching for pathogens, and then diagnosis and correction of lesions by nano-manipulation synchronized by an on-board computer while conserving and contacting the supervisory surgeon through coded ultrasound signals.

DNA origami

DNA origami is one of the most widely used forms of nanotechnology and is why most advancements in nanorobotics have been in the field of medicine. It refers to a construction process that manipulates strands of DNA into specific two- and three-dimensional shapes through a process of annealing (heating) templates that contain hundreds of DNA strands. Cancer therapy and diagnosis is one potential domain where DNA origami showed significant anticancer efficacy and may contribute immensely

Fighting cancer

Doctors hope to use nanobots to treat cancer patients. The robots could either attack tumors directly using lasers, microwaves or ultrasonic signals or they could be part of chemotherapy treatment, delivering medication directly to the cancer site. Doctors believe that by delivering small but precise doses of medication to the patient, side effects will be minimized without a loss in the medication’s effectiveness.

Nanodentistry

Nanodentistry is one of the topmost applications as nanorobots help in different processes involved in dentistry. These nanorobots help desensitize teeth, oral anesthesia, straightening of an irregular set of teeth and improvement of the teeth durability, major tooth repairs and improvement of the appearance of teeth, etc.

Drug Delivery

The drug carriers have walls that are just 5–10 atoms thick and the inner drug-filled cell is 50–100 nm wide. When they detect signs of the disease, thin wires in their walls emit an electrical pulse which causes the walls to dissolve and the drug to be released. A significant advantage of using nanobots for drug delivery is that the amount and time of drug release can be easily controlled by controlling the electrical pulse.

The nanorobotics considered, as a wonderful vision of medicine in the future, are an advanced submicron device made of bio-nanocomponents. It has an eminent future in the drug delivery technology target in cancer, the disease that is the leading cause of death among younger than 85 years.

Nanorobots could carry and deliver large amounts of anti-cancer drugs into cancerous cells without harming healthy cells, reducing the side effects related to current therapies like damage to conventional chemotherapy.

Nanorobots can also be used as ancillary devices for processing different chemical reactions in the affected organs. These robots are also useful for monitoring and controlling glucose levels in diabetic patients.

Future of Nanobots

Nanorobots could revolutionize medicine. Doctors could treat everything from heart disease to cancer using tiny robots the size of bacteria, a scale much smaller than today’s robots. Robots might work alone or in teams to eradicate disease and treat other conditions. Some believe that semiautonomous nanorobots are right around the corner — doctors would implant robots able to patrol a human’s body, reacting to any problems that pop up. Unlike acute treatment, these robots would stay in the patient’s body forever.

Another potential future application of nanorobot technology is to re-engineer our bodies to become resistant to disease, increase our strength or even improve our intelligence. Dr. Richard Thompson, a former professor of ethics, has written about the ethical implications of nanotechnology. He says the most important tool is communication, and that it’s pivotal for communities, medical organizations, and the government to talk about nanotechnology now, while the industry is still in its infancy.

In the next 10 or so years, your blood will probably stream with tiny nanorobots there to help keep you from getting sick or even transmit your thoughts to a wireless cloud. They will travel inside of you, on a molecular level, protecting the biological system and ensuring that you have a good and long life. The future is closer than you may think.

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