Nanotechnology in Medicine: Challenges and Opportunities for Future Nanomedicine 

Nanotechnology in Medicine

Nanotechnology in Medicine

Exploring the economic impact of nanotechnology in medicine

Nanotechnology is rapidly emerging as a field of research allowing for both the improvement of existing and the development of completely new products and processes, across diverse sectors. It primarily impacts the research and development and production activities of companies. While most smaller companies focus merely on nanotechnology, the larger ones typically combine it with an array of other technologies. Nanotechnology, in the field of medicine, has the potential to revolutionize drug delivery, gene therapy, diagnostics, and other areas of research, development and clinical application.

Nanotechnology commonly refers to the formation of new objects with nanoscale dimensions between 1.0 and 100.0 nanometres. The integration of nanomaterials into medicine has led to the development of diagnostic devices, analytical tools, physical therapy applications, and drug delivery. The advent of nanotechnology is also paving ways for new opportunities in implantable delivery systems, which are often preferable to the use of injectable drugs, as the latter frequently display first-order kinetics.

While the interest in medical applications of nanotechnology is persistently growing, here are some trends illustrating the challenges and opportunities for the future of nanomedicine.


Precise Drug Delivery

The nanotechnology application for drug delivery provides the potential for improved and enhanced treatments with targeted delivery. Employing nanotechnology to drug delivery helps improves the ability to deliver drugs that are poorly water-soluble; provides site-specific targeting to lessen drug accumulation within healthy tissue; retains the drug in the body long enough for effective treatment; enables the extension of drug bioactivity through protection from the biological environment; allows for the transportation of drugs across epithelial and endothelial barriers; and coalesces therapeutic and diagnostic modalities into one agent.


Drug Discovery

Drug discovery has become a competitive market in today’s medical field and continually posing challenges to medical scientists to find the right drug discovery technologies. In this context, the potential of nanotechnology currently lies in improving diagnostic methods, developing improved drug formulations and drug delivery systems for disease therapy. At present, nearly all pharmaceutical companies follow common technology processes for drug discovery, including, cloning and expressing human receptors and enzymes in formats that allow high throughput, automated screening and the application of combinatorial chemistries. The application of nanotechnology is set to streamline the drug discovery process through miniaturization, automation, speed and analysis reliability by working at levels far smaller than conventional microarrays.


Scarcity of Nanomedicine Talent

With the rise and implementation of nanotechnology applications in medicine, professionals familiar with the concept of nanotechnology is very few. Training of clinicians will be essential to effectively deploy nano-enabled medical technologies in clinical practices. While the lack of expertise can confine the rapid discovery of new nanotechnologies for medicine, it will also delay promising technologies to get regulatory approval and commercialization across terrestrial regions. In addition, the expertise of developing educational and training modules for medical providers must come from a group that has the ability to understand and synthesize information from basic research and clinical medicine.


Large-Scale Nanomedicine Production 

One of the most significant factors delaying the clinical translation of nanoparticulate nanomedicines is the structural and physicochemical complexity of the formulation itself. NNMs are designed to deliver drugs through distinct mechanisms – solubilization, passive targeting, active targeting, and triggered release. While pharmaceutical manufacturing development is centered on quality and cost, NNM manufacturing is challenged by potential issues, such as poor quality control; scalability complexities; inadequate purification from contaminants; high material and/or manufacturing costs; low production yield; insufficient batch-to-batch reproducibility, consistency and storage stability of the final product; lack of infrastructure and in-house expertise; chemical instability or denaturation of the encapsulated compound during the manufacturing process; and the dearth of venture funds and pharmaceutical industry investment.