By Sailesh Dhungana

The desires to be healthy and to live longer are two of the most important traits that have helped our species survive. Since ancient times, people have tried new approaches for the preservation of health and longevity of life – from the use of natural herbs to the field of modern medicine. The use of nanotechnology in medicine (Nanomedicine) is one of the latest applications researchers are working on.

Basically, a nanometer is a very small measure of length (one billionth of a meter) used as a scale for atomic or molecular measurements. Nanotechnology is the use of technology that has a dimension of approximately that size. Nanomedicine is the use of nanotechnology together with medicine to treat various illnesses.

A lot of work has already been done in the field of Nanomedicine. Nanobots are now able to target diseased cells and keep away from healthy cells. This approach can be very beneficial for diseases like cancer, as drugs will be released only where they are needed, and the side-effects are reduced. There is more on-going research happening at several universities and laboratories and progress is sure to be made in this field.

Apart from universities and research labs, pharmaceutical companies are also interested in Nanomedicine and are conducting their own research. The following firms are some of the companies doing just that:

Merck: Merck is a large pharmaceutical company that has one of the largest numbers of patents regarding nanotechnology. They have already developed products with the use of nanotechnology such as EMEND®, PANACUR® and Coppertone®.

AstraZeneca: AstraZeneca, a UK based pharmaceutical company, is collaborating with Bind Therapeutics to innovate medicine that beats cancer using their nanotech delivery system. AstraZeneca and Bind Therapeutics signed a $200 million deal regarding Nanomedicine.

Pfizer: The largest producer of drugs, Pfizer, is also interested in Nanomedicine. They also signed a deal with Bind Therapeutics for the use of their nanotechnology.

Companies like Novartis, Abbott, GlaxoSmithKline and Rocha are some other companies working in this field. With much research being conducted in various places, we can imagine Nanomedicine will be changing the future of medicine.