Table of Contents  
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 401-405  

Nanotechnology for health: A new useful technology in medicine

1 Medical Center, Medical Academic Center, Bangkok, Thailand
2 Department of Tropical Medicine, Hainan Medical University, Hainan Sheng, China; Faculy of Science, Surindra Rajabhat University, Surin, Thailand; Department of Biological Science, Dr. DY Patil University, Pune, Maharashtra, India; Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Nis, Nis, Serbia; Department of Biological Science, Joseph Ayo Babalola University, Osun State, Nigeria

Date of Submission20-Feb-2017
Date of Acceptance25-May-2017
Date of Web Publication14-Nov-2017

Correspondence Address:
Beuy Joob
Medical Academic Center, Bangkok
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


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Nanotechnology is accepted as a very useful new technology at present. The impact of new nanotechnology on health is very interesting. Indeed, several usefulness of nanotechnology on animal and human health can be expected. On the other hand, the negative effect of nanotechnology can also be seen. The applied nanotechnologies in public health and medicine already exist. In this short article, the summarization and discussion on nanotechnology and health are presented. It can be seen that the nanotechnology can be applicable in several fields of medicine and can help practitioner in diagnostic, therapeutic, and preventive activities.

Keywords: Health, medicine, nanotechnology

How to cite this article:
Joob B, Wiwanitkit V. Nanotechnology for health: A new useful technology in medicine. Med J DY Patil Univ 2017;10:401-5

How to cite this URL:
Joob B, Wiwanitkit V. Nanotechnology for health: A new useful technology in medicine. Med J DY Patil Univ [serial online] 2017 [cited 2024 Feb 24];10:401-5. Available from:

  Introduction Top

The discovery of the new properties of nanomaterials and development of new science on nanomaterials lead to the new nanoscience and nanotechnology. At present, the nanotechnology becomes the real applied technology in daily use. It is accepted that nanotechnology is very useful new technology at present. The impact of new nanotechnology can be seen on several activities. Since the new technology is around us, the impact of the new nanotechnology to our health can be expected and becomes the important consideration. The main reasons that the nanomaterials can affect our health include (a) the nanomaterials are considered chemicals and those materials can have the reaction with our body, (b) the introduction of the nanomaterials into the daily life results in the possibility that human can contact with those materials, (c) nanomaterials have extremely small size, smaller than the physiological barrier in our body, hence, the nanomaterials can easily enter into our body and generate further reaction, and (d) the use of nanomaterials is rapidly increased but the safety concern is very little. Hence, it cannot avoid the interrelationship between nanomaterials, environment, and human beings (as well as animals, plants, and other living things in the environment).

If the nanomaterial is an inert, neutral chemical, it might cause no problem when it enters into the body. However, the nanomaterial is highly active and can interact and generate several effects. Hence, the impact of the nanomaterial when it enters into the body can be observed and becomes the big consideration at present.

Indeed, several usefulness of nanotechnology on animal and human health can be expected. When it enters into the body, the effect of nanoparticle is confirmed. The scientists already succeed in use of desired effect for specific target management of the disorder in the human body. This is the rooted concept of the new applications, nanopharmacology and nanotherapy. The usefulness of nanomaterial due to the ex vivo use is also possible. For example, the application of nanoscience can support the availability of the four basic essentials for human beings: food, clothes, habitats, and drug. For food, the application of nanotechnology in food science and food technology already exists at present. There are many new foods developed based on the new nanotechnology. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) already calls for attention on the importance of nanotechnology in modern food.[1],[2] FDA already declared for the requirement of regulation of safety regarding nanotechnology use in the food industry.[3] For clothes, the nanotechnology can be applied for production of the new fabrics. In modern textiles industry, many new clothes are developed with integrated nanotechnology.[4] The good example is the use of silver nanoparticle to increase antibacterial activity of the clothes. For habitat, the nanotechnology can be applied in engineering for construction of houses. The structural modification to support the durability and strength of the house by nanotechnology can be seen. For drug, as already mentioned, the new nanotechnology is already used for the production of many new drugs. Some new drugs based on nanotechnology are already approved by FDA and circulated in daily clinical use in clinical settings.[5] The examples of those new drugs are nanoamphotericin B,[6] which is already approved for the treatment of fungal and parasitic infections. Conclusively, several advantages of nanotechnology can be observed in our daily life. On the other hand, the negative effect of nanotechnology can also be seen. Unwanted adverse effect of nanotechnology has to be controlled and managed. The toxicity due to the nanomaterials and unwanted events due to uncontrolled or illegal use of nanomaterials (such as use for terrorism purpose and use as narcotic) are the good examples. The implementation of regulations of nanotechnology use becomes the widely discussed issue at present.[7] As already noted, the applied nanotechnologies in public health and medicine already exist. Integration of the new nanotechnology can help support and strengthen the classical technology in health and medicine. In this short chapter, the summarization and discussion on nanotechnology and health are presented.

  Nanotechnology and Health Top

The new emerging nanotechnology can have several impacts on health. The positive and negative impacts can be seen. While the use of the new technology can help promote animal and human good health, the unwanted adverse effects of the new nanotechnology are also observed. At present, the interrelationship between nanotechnology and health becomes the focused issue in global public health. Many researches mentioned for the need to concern on nanotechnology and its health health [Table 1].[8],[9],[10]
Table 1: Some interesting publications regarding concerns on nanotechnology and health

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It can be seen that there are several concerns on interrelationship between nanotechnology and health in the present day. Several aspects are mentioned, and it is briefly summarized.

Nanotechnology and animal health

With emerging worldwide use of nanomaterials, the chance that the animal can expose to nanomaterials is possible, and it becomes the new concern in veterinarian science. The animal might be accidentally exposed to nanomaterial or human beings might intentionally put the nanomaterial into the animal. Advantages and disadvantages of nanomaterial on animal health can be expected.[11] The use of nanotechnology for animal disease management is possible. Furthermore, the nanotechnology can be applied in animal production industry. At present, the great concern is on “the security of agricultural and food systems.”[11] In case that there is any contamination in animal that is a food for human, further impact on human health can be expected. Belluco et al. discussed on the importance of nanomaterials use in animal production and mentioned for “a wide range of applications from feed production and farming to food packaging, including several detection tools designed for the benefit of consumer protection” and noted on the importance of the control of the whole process.[12]

Nanotechnology and environmental health

The emerging use of nanomaterial in the present day becomes a big concern in environmental health. Basically, the applied nanotechnology can be useful for the management of environmental problem.[13] On the other hand, the unwanted environmental impact due to the use of new nanotechnology should not be forgotten. It is no doubt that there can be nanomaterial contamination in the environment. Hence, the consideration on safety and control any unwanted environmental effect is needed. Sadeghi et al. noted for the requirement to focus on “the interaction of nanomaterials with biological systems, humans, and the environment.”[14]

Powell and Kanarek noted that scientists and regulators needed to concern and manage the “potential health and environmental risks related to the widespread production and use of the nanomaterials created by these technologies.”[15]

Nanotechnology and occupational health

As already noted, the nanomaterials become widely used in daily life. The chance that anyone can expose to the nanomaterial during daily work is possible. Schulte et al. noted for five criterion actions that should be practiced by decision makers on using nanotechnology as a required responsibly including “(1) anticipate, identify, and track potentially hazardous nanomaterials in the workplace; (2) assess workers' exposures to nanomaterials; (3) assess and communicate hazards and risks to workers; (4) manage occupational safety and health risks; and (5) foster the safe development of nanotechnology and realization of its societal and commercial benefits.”[16]Basically, the reduction of hazard risk in occupational work is suggested. The possible measures include elimination or substitution, engineering controls, administrative or work practice controls, and personal protective equipment.[17] Nevertheless, Engeman et al. studied the current situation and found difference of practices in different settings and also mentioned for the needs to have the good measure to manage the occupational health relating to nanotechnology.[18]

Nanotechnology and industrial health

The use of nanotechnology in industry becomes a big concern in industrial health. The basic concerns on occupational health and environmental health have to be mentioned.[19] In industrial health, Schulte et al. noted that major functional areas to identify significant contributions to worker safety and health included “toxicology, metrology, exposure assessment, engineering controls and personal protective equipment, risk assessment, risk management, medical surveillance, and epidemiology.”[20]

  Nanotechnology and Medicine Top

The application of nanotechnology can be seen in several fields including medicine. In medicine, the applied nanotechnology is the new applied medical technology. Nanomedicine is the specific medicine subject covering the principle of nanomedical science and nanomedical technology. It can be applied in several ways of medicine from diagnosis to treatment. First, the nanomedicine can deal with diagnosis. There are many new diagnostic tools based on the new nanotechnology. For treatment, there are many new drugs developed based on the nanotechnology. In addition, the nanotechnology can also be applied for prevention purpose in medicine. Many new vaccines are ongoingly developed based on new nanotechnology.

Diagnosis and nanomedicine

The applied nanotechnology can be useful for the development of new diagnostic system in medicine. Indeed, the measurement of substance at nanolevel (such as vitamin and hormone) is a big challenge. At present, with the use of new technology such as electrochemiluminescence, the measurement of the substance at nanolevel is possible.[21] In addition, the applied nanotechnology for imaging purpose is also possible. The cellular imaging by nanoprobe is possible for medical diagnostic purpose.[22] At present, the examples of available nanoprobes are quantum dots, plasmonic nanoparticles, magnetic nanoparticles, nanotubes, nanowires, and multifunctional nanomaterials.[23],[24] The advantage in the diagnosis of nanoprobes is due to high volume/surface ratio, surface tailorability, multifunctionality, and intrinsic properties.[23] It is no doubt that nanoprobes can be applied for diagnosis of several infectious disease and cancers.[23],[24] The use of nanomaterials integrated with other advanced technology such as surface plasmon spectroscopy, amperometry, and magnetic relaxation becomes the actual advent in diagnostic medicine.[25]

Therapy and nanomedicine

The applied nanotechnologies are already used for the development of new drugs. This is the advent pharmaceutical technology. Briefly, the nanotechnology can help improve drug formulation and distribution in the body. In addition, the nanotechnology can help targeting the specific therapeutic target.

In additional to drug development, the nanotechnology is also integrated into the classical medical procedure for help improved efficacy. The applied nanosurgery and nanodentistry are the good examples.

Prevention and nanomedicine

Not only the advantage from application of new nanotechnology but also the impact resulted from the implementation of the new nanotechnology becomes the concern at present. The impact of nanotechnology in medicine should be mentioned. Physiological, pharmacological, and pathological impacts of the new nanomaterials can be seen and well demonstrated in medicine.

Furthermore, the specific application on nanotechnology already leads to many new disciplinary of medicine. The well-known example will be further discussed.


The applied nanotechnology can be useful in researching on the complex hematological disorder such as hemoglobinopathies.[26],[27],[28] In addition, it can also be useful for diagnosis and treatment of several hematological disorders, especially for blood infection and cancer. The good example is the already available nanoamphotericin B for management on an important tropical blood infection, leishmaniasis.[29]


The applied nanotechnology can be very useful in cancer diagnosis and treatment.[30],[31] Since cancer is a group of disease with hopeless for success in treatment, there are many ongoing researches attempts to use new technology including to nanotechnologies for overcome the malignancy. With nanomaterials, the new therapeutic modalities with acceptable half-time, low toxicity, and increased chemosensitivity can be expected.[32],[33] There are several ongoing researches on new anticancer drug and treatment based on nanotechnology. Ranganathan et al. noted that “tumor-targeted drug delivery systems are envisioned as magic bullets for cancer therapy and several groups are working globally for development of robust systems.”[32]


There are several advents in nanotechnology for dentistry at present.[33] The application for diagnosis and treatment can be seen.[34] The wide applications in the present day are on the dentistry restorative materials.[34],[35] The nanotechnology can also be applied for the development of local dental drug delivery system, tissue scaffolds,[36] and bone grafting technology.[35] Kanaparthy and Kanaparthy noted that the nanotechnology led to the changing face of classical dentistry. Kanaparthy and Kanaparthy noted that “nanodentistry will make possible the maintenance of comprehensive oral health by employing nanomaterials, including tissue engineering and, ultimately, dental nanorobots.”[31]


The applied nanotechnology for surgery becomes a new advent in surgery.[37] Mali noted that “through nanotechnology, tiny biosensors could be constructed which could take these factors into account, thus shortening a patient's recovery period and saving hospitals money, reducing infection rates within the hospital, reducing the waiting lists for operation, and allowing doctors to treat more patients in the same period of time.”[37] The application can be useful in case of the extremely small and complex surgery. The good example is on the plastic surgery.[38] At present, the technology rapidly progresses, and it is expected to enter the new era of cellular surgery. The so-called “laser nanosurgery” is expected as an effective surgical technique at the cellular level.[39]


The specific application of nanotechnology in ophthalmology becomes the new hope for the management of several ophthalmological disorders.[40] There are many new researches which report the development of new nanosystems for delivery of drugs and nanodevices for the management of complex eye diseases.[40]


Similar to nano-ophthalmology, the specific application of nanotechnology in neurology becomes the new hope for the management of several neurological disorders.[40] Several studies on diagnosis and treatment for neurological diseases with the use of new nanotechnology are presently running.


Similar to nano-ophthalmology and nanoneurology, the specific application of nanotechnology in cardiology becomes the new hope for the management of several neurological disorders.[40] Spivak et al. noted for several advantages of nanoparticles especially for gold nanoparticle on diagnostic and therapeutic cardiology and concluded that “the nanotheranostics in cardiovascular diseases allows the noninvasive imaging associated with simultaneous therapeutic intervention and predicting treatment outcome.”[41]

  Conclusion Top

Nanotechnology is a new useful technology that can be the solution for many activities. Its application in medicine is warranted and becomes the new hop in diagnosis, treatment, and prevention. The applications of nanotechnology can be seen in several fields of medicine and become the new things that practitioner has to recognize and use.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

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