Nanorobotics is a relatively new branch of nanotechnology which deals with the design and construction of devices at an atomic, molecular, or cellular level. The aim is to gain the ability to work at the molecular level, atom by atom, and control the structures and devices at the nanoscale.
Nanorobots, also known as nanoids, are extremely small robots designed to perform a specific task with precision. The application of nanorobots in medicine offers a wide range of tools for treating disease and improvising the human biological system.
Medical nanorobots can perform various tasks in diagnosis, monitoring, and treating vital diseases. Besides, these nanorobots can deliver medicine or drugs to specific sites/targets in the human body.
This post will briefly discuss some of the potential applications of nanorobots in medicine.
- Drug delivery: Pharmacytes are nanorobots that are used to deliver drugs. The pharmacyte’s payload will be loaded with the drug dosage, and the pharmacyte will be able to deliver drugs to specific cellular targets with pinpoint accuracy. When the pharmacytes reach the tumor or any target cell, they release the drug via nano injection or progressive cytopenetration until the payload is delivered.
- Body surveillance: Monitoring vitals and wireless transmission continuously could be possible using nanorobots, leading to a quantum leap in diagnostics. This would also help in the quick response in case of a sudden change in vitals or warn against a possible risk, such as high blood glucose in diabetics.
- Dentistry: The nanorobots designed for dental treatment are dentifrobots. These nanorobots can induce oral analgesia, desensitize teeth, manipulate the tissues to realign and straighten irregular sets of teeth.
- Surgery: The surgical programmed nanorobot can act as a semi-autonomous onsite surgeon inside the body. It would perform various functions such as detecting pathology, diagnosing, correcting lesions by nanomanipulation coordinated by an on-board computer.
- Cancer detection and treatment: The nanorobots are made with a mixture of polymer and a protein known as transferrin capable of detecting tumor cells. The nanorobots would consist of embedded chemical biosensors that can be used to detect tumors. Chemical biosensors on medical nanorobots can be programmed to detect different levels of E-cadherin and beta-catenin, assisting in target identification and drug delivery. The nanorobot could also transport chemotherapy chemicals to the cancer treatment site. The robots could use lasers, microwaves, or ultrasonic signals to attack tumors directly, or they could deliver medication to the cancer site as part of chemotherapy treatment.
- Diagnosis and treatment of diabetes: Glucose molecules are transported through the bloodstream to keep the human metabolism running. Diabetes patients can use the hSGLT3 molecule to determine their glucose levels. The chemosensor modulates the gluco-sensor activity of the hSGLT3 protein in the glucose monitoring nanorobot. These chemical sensors can accurately detect and inject insulin when needed in the body.
- Delicate surgeries: Microsurgery of the eye and surgeries of the retina and surrounding membranes could be performed with nanorobots soon. Furthermore, nanorobots could be injected elsewhere in the body rather than injecting directly into the eye, with drug delivery guided to the eye. Because nanorobots can provide better access to the required area with minimal trauma, fetal surgery, which is currently one of the riskiest surgeries due to the high mortality rate of either the baby or the mother, could soon have a 100 percent success rate. Similarly, advances in nanorobotics could help with other difficult surgeries.
- Gene therapy: By comparing the molecular structure of DNA and proteins in the cell, the medical nanorobot can treat genetic diseases. Chromosome replacement therapy can be carried out using chromallocytes.
Nanorobots in medicine are expected to hold a great deal of promise. When the severe side effects of current therapies are taken into account, nanorobots prove to be more innovative and helpful in treating and diagnosing critical diseases. The nanorobotics exhibit strong potential to diagnose and treat various medical conditions like cancer, heart attack, diabetes, arteriosclerosis, kidney stones, etc. The nanorobot can also allow a personalized treatment, hence achieving high efficacy against many diseases.