Getting Straight to the Site of Disease

By William Hanson: For More Info, Go Here…

Nanomedicine is going to battle against brain disease in Iraq veterans.

As advanced as modern medicine is, it’s often not possible to get at a diseased area without affecting the entire body. Surgery and radiation kill good cells along with bad, and chemotherapy and antibiotics infiltrate the whole body, producing unwanted side effects on normal organs. Even when we want to direct a drug to influence one part of the body, modern medicine still can’t transport a drug precisely to the diseased area or make sure that the drug releases its dose exactly where we want it to. For this reason, treatments today are still blunt weapons.

The promise of nanomedicine is to completely revolutionize treatment by transporting the medicine directly to the diseased site without compromising the rest of the body. The key in nanomedicine is the transport feature, which is also its greatest challenge.

Veterans who are currently coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan, where injuries to the head make up 20 percent of battlefield wounds, are challenging the medical community to deal with this problem. Many of the wounded go on to develop meningitis or abscesses — destructive brain lesions that can, even if successfully treated, result in permanent neurological problems.

Innovators in medical research are working on new techniques to transport medication through the body’s network of blood vessels that can precisely target the diseased cells, or — in the case of infections — intruders like bacteria and viruses. The rapidly evolving science of nanotechnology has provided us with novel techniques to achieve this goal in the form of tiny nanoparticlesthat can be injected into the blood stream, where they will locate an objective and accomplish a mission.

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