Saul Bravo
Dr. Matzke
The University of Michigan
Nanotechnology, should it be allowed?
Nanotechnology, for many it is just another idea brought up in movies where
it is greatly blown out of proportion because of its futuristic nature. Nanotechnology
is defined as the understanding of matter between 1 to 100 nanometers in length.
This is to say scientists are working with very small matter in an effort to make
advances in both medicine and agriculture. While some may argue that the risks of
developing new technology of this size outweigh the potential benefits, the fact of
the matter is that current advances in nanotechnology indicate it will greatly benefit
humanity (Kuzma).
Nanotech currently allows us to develop a new way of treating illnesses
where conventional treatments prove ineffective. By manipulating their atomic,
physical, and molecular assembly, we are able to treat certain heart diseases (Rhee).
By precisely engineering certain compounds, we are able to produce desired
properties in their atomic composition. As a result we are able to see treatments
with enhanced diagnostic accuracy, a reduction in drug toxicity, and even an
increase in therapeutic efficiency (Rhee). Advances in nanoparticles show promise
in delivering certain drugs in which their toxicity would render them unable to
administer through conventional methods. While some may argue that the results of
implementing nanotechnology in the treatment of illnesses are unknown to us. By
taking the necessary precautions during testing along with the careful collaboration
between scientists, engineers, and health practitioners, results have already shown
that this could be extremely beneficial to the way we would normally treat diseases
(Rhee). Scientists have begun to put a focus on regenerative medicine, one of the
main benefits of nanotechnology. Since scientists are able to develop their molecular
makeup, they are able to create new medicines by controlling their nanostructure
(Peran). Using their unique properties at the molecular level, as opposed to the
different characteristics of their bulk counterparts, we are able to create new
structures with fundamentally different molecular compositions.
As the people of The United States continue to age, it is clear that a need for
new medicines is present. Many degenerative diseases today such as Parkinson’s,
Alzheimer’s, and Osteoporosis could potentially be treated by regenerative
treatments made possible through nanotechnology. Scientists have developed a way
of engineering a fully functioning synthetic biodegradable matrix that would take
the place of the damaged matrixes until they regenerated naturally (Peran). Today
the only limitation that exists in using regenerative tissue to replace damaged tissue
is the rate at which these treatments can be produced. The world still has not
accepted nanotechnology as a means of developing treatments that could mimic
natural tissues and as a result are not putting as much emphasis on it as is needed.
“The promise that nanotechnology brings is multifaceted, offering not only
improvements to the current techniques, but also providing entirely new tools and
capabilities” (Peran). The development of new tools through nanotechnology are
what many believe to be the key in treating modern day illnesses that are
considered untreatable through conventional treatments. Cancer for example is
being treated today through nanomedicine. Today, their sole purpose is to reduce
toxicity but their efficiency is limited by our little understanding of their effects on
the human body.
Agriculture has also seen its own applications of nanotechnology. The main
benefit of using nanotechnology is scientists are able to assemble atoms into
extremely controlled structures that operate to our own benefit (Misra). One way
that we are using nanotechnology to address food shortages around the world is
through the creation of edible Nano wrappers that would keep normal pests away
that have cut down on their yield in the past. Scientists have also developed a
method of recognizing bacteria that would result in a loss of yield. Silver has largely
been considered a powerful antibacterial and is used to fight against bacteria;
Silicone when absorbed into plants increases their disease resistance but has little
antibacterial properties. Through nanotechnology, scientists have combined these
two into a powerful application to today’s plants through an artificial compound
known as Silica- Silver (Misra). By combining their properties and used as one, we
are able to see the benefits associated since they are bound at the molecular level,
scientists would be unable to perform this kind of molecular fusion with their bulk
counterparts.
While some may make the argument claiming that we are unaware of their
effect on the human body. This is true to a certain extent; the nature of
nanotechnology means that we cannot be completely sure what the molecular
composition of certain compounds will do to the human body. Some are worried
that their effect on the human body will differ because of each human being’s unique
genetic makeup. Some may make the argument that “people must get ready to live
in the digital age not the atomic age” (Faiz). Looking at my previous examples using
synthetic matrixes, one is able to see that these types of treatments would be
specifically engineered to benefit the particular patient.
Nanotechnology has proven to be effective in its applications in both
medicine and agriculture. Its practical uses include an increase in quality of
treatments as well a decrease in severity of traditional drug treatments that may do
more harm than good if they are administered through traditional methods of their
bulk counterparts. Scientists have already developed invaluable treatments through
nanotechnology, all of which would have been unable to come to be had we not
looked towards the molecular composition of matter. The treatment of illnesses
through nanotechnology will help us look towards the future in developing new
methods of treating illnesses that include preventative treatments as opposed to
treating illnesses case by case only after you suffer from the illness
Works Cited
Kuzma, Jennifer, and John C. Besley. "Ethics of Risk Analysis and
Regulatory Review: From Bio- to Nanotechnology." Nanoethics 2.2 (2008):
149-62. ProQuest. Web. 10 Aug. 2015.
Rhee, June-Wha, and Joseph C. Wu. "Advances in Nanotechnology for
the Management of Coronary Artery Disease." Trends in cardiovascular
medicine 23.2 (2013): 39-45. ProQuest. Web. 10 Aug. 2015.
Peran, Macarena, et al. "How can Nanotechnology Help to Repair the
Body? Advances in Cardiac, Skin, Bone, Cartilage and Nerve Tissue
Regeneration." Materials 6.4 (2013): 1333-59. ProQuest. Web. 10 Aug. 2015.
Misra, Amarendra N., Meena Misra, and Ranjeet Singh.
"Nanotechnology in Agriculture and Food Industry." International Journal of
Pure and Applied Sciences and Technology 16.2 (2013): 1-9. ProQuest. Web.
10 Aug. 2015.
Faiz, M. M. T. Marikar, et al. "Sri Lankan Medical Undergraduates Awareness of
Nanotechnology and its Risks." Education Research International
(2014)ProQuest. Web. 10 Aug. 2015.
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