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What are some applications of nanomedicine?

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Quick Answer

Nanomedicines are used to treat diseases such as breast cancer, non-small-cell lung cancer, ovarian cancer, multiple myeloma and pancreatic cancer. They are also used to study the environmental impact and toxicity of nanoscale materials.

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The removal of harmful compounds such as toxins, pathogens and proteins from blood using magnetic nanoparticles is a recent discovery. The process is accomplished using an extracorporeal circuit, as in the case of dialysis. With this technique, it is possible to remove larger compounds that cannot be removed by dialysis.

Destroying macrophages by delivering toxins using nano-carriers has proved to be an effective method in gene therapy and other situations such as autoimmune blood disorders, T-cell-mediated autoimmune diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and spinal cord injury.

Nanomedicines such as Abraxane, Doxil and Onivyde are used to treat several types of cancer. All these medicines are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The smallest silica-based nanoparticles, called Cornell dots or C-dots, are used as diagnostic tools to help surgeons find the location of tumor cells.

The high surface-area-to-volume ratio of nanoparticles allows them to get attached to many functional groups that can seek out and bind to tumor cells. The small size of nanoparticles also allows them to collect and concentrate at tumor sites. With these properties, nanoparticles can overcome problems such as drug resistance, lack of selectivity and solubility, which are complications faced during conventional cancer chemotherapy.

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