Joined: 16 Mar 2004
|Posted: Mon Apr 23, 2007 10:22 am Post subject: New medical nanotechnology discipline emerging
|A novel discipline is emerging in medicine: nanoscopic medicine. Based on the premises that diseases manifest themselves as defects of cellular proteins, these proteins have been recently shown to form specific complexes exerting their functions as if they were nanoscopic machines. Nanoscopic medicine refers to the direct visualization, analysis (diagnosis) and modification (therapy) of nanoscopic protein machines in life cells and tissues with the aim to improve human health.
The term nanoscopic medicine was coined by a group of researchers in Germany whose mission is to extend live cell nanoscopy into a comprehensive diagnostic and therapeutic scheme. This includes both the creation of a set of novel instruments and the analysis of nanoscopic protein machine networks in health and disease. In addition, they seek to construct artificial devices mimicking cellular nanomachines.
Professor Reiner Peters and his team at the University of Münster (they also formed a separate spin-off company called Nascomed) in Germany said: "We are striving to a rapidly develop medical nanoscopy. However, the future implementation into medical praxis will depend on whether we succed in unifying all the parts of this new field, which are currently dissipated among disciplines such as genomics, proteomics, structural biology, systems biology, physical optics, photochemistry and medicine."
In two recent papers, the researchers introduce their concept. "Checking and fixing the cellular nanomachinery: towards medical nanoscopy" was published in the Feb. 2006 edition of Trends in Molecular Medicine and "Nanoscopic Medicine: The Next Frontier" was published in the March 1, 2006 online edition of Small.
While nanoscopy refers to the visualization of structures on the nanometer scale, "medical nanoscopy" goes beyond diagnostics by including therapeutic applications as well.
"The target of nanoscopic medicine is that of traditional medicine, the diagnosis and therapy of the cell. However, the frontier is moved deep inside the cell towards its nanoscopic fundament" says Peters.
He explains an important distinction to nanotechnology: "Nanoscopic medicine must be clearly distinguished from applications of nanotechnology to medical questions, frequently referred to as nanomedicine. Nanoscopic medicine and nanomedicine represent opposing approaches. The roots of nanoscopic medicine lie in medicine while those of nanomedicine are found in nanotechnology."
He adds "Nanoscopic medicine seeks to analyze and improve the nanoscopic fundament of the cell while nanomedicine aims at the creation of artificial nanometer-sized devices such as particles, tubes, or sieves, if not electromechanical robots, for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes."
Source & further information: http://www.nanowerk.com/spotlight/spotid=1154.php
Story first posted: 15th December 2006.