Nanoscience To Improve Our Health And Lives In Coming Years
Nanoscience research involves molecules that are only 1/100th the size of cancer cells and that have the potential to profoundly improve the quality of our health and our lives. Now nine prominent nanoscientists look ahead to what we can expect in the coming decade, and conclude that nanoscience is poised to make important contributions in many areas, including health care, electronics, energy, food and water.
Significant progress has already been made in nanomaterials, report authors
Nanoparticles can be designed to target infectious disease. Nanomaterials may target the lungs to deliver potent antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs could fight bacterial and viral infection. Nanoparticles may lead to more effective treatments of neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease, as well as arthritis. The emerging field of immuno-oncology is likely to produce advances that will activate the body’s immune system to attack tumor cells. Important advantages of nanoparticles are that they can bind selectively to receptors over-expressed on tumors and may be delivered to the same cell at a predetermined dose and timing, although significant scientific challenges remain. The microelectronics industry has been manufacturing products with nanoscale structures for decades — a market currently valued at approximately
The researchers discuss the need to safely implement new nanomaterials and present ideas for doing so. They also call for researchers to communicate their research with the public.
Nanoscience has brought together scientists, engineers and clinicians from many fields, and will continue to cross many academic boundaries.
“The field is poised to make contributions far beyond the nanoscale worlds that we have explored so far,” said Weiss, who is also a distinguished professor of materials science and engineering at
The researchers advocate strong federal support for nanoscience, and predict significant progress toward major scientific goals will be achieved by the end of this decade. They also advocate basic research to produce currently unforeseen discoveries.