Nanotechnology has vast potential to transform the field of medicine. By creating nanoscale machines small enough to transverse inside the blood stream, disease and traumatic injuries can be diagnosed and treated with increased speed and sensitivity. An important advantage of nanotechnology is the ability to inject large amounts of nanomachines within a few milliliters of solution. The utilization of nanomachines through injection into the body has been proposed for improving post-accident life saving interventions as well as new methods of infection treatment.
The benefits of injecting nanomachines during post-accident life saving
The treatment of serious physical injury requires speed with greater survival rates produced when treatment is received within an hour from when the trauma occurred. Nanotechnology has the potential to extend this hour deadline during post-accident life saving intervention. For example, nanomachines could be injected into the body when a patient stops breathing and blood circulation ceases, providing more time for stabilization. Respirocytes are hypothetical nanomachines, in the form of artificial red blood cells, which would be utilized for transporting respiratory gases around the body. A respirocyte structure based on nanoscale diamondoid pressure tanks, with an operational maximum of 1000 atmospheres of pressure, would be able to supply 200 times more respiratory gas molecules than natural red blood cells of the same volume. This makes respirocytes particularly suitable for use during emergency trauma treatment because a single injection of a five milliliter dose of 50% respirocyte saline suspension would supply five trillion nanorobots to the blood stream. This single dose would equal the gas-carrying capacity for all the blood in the human body.
The benefits of injecting clottocytes during trauma treatment
Clottocytes are hypothetical nanomachines which function as artificial platelets. They may have an important role in halting bleeding after serious physical injury. Natural platelets work by gathering at the site of the bleed, forming a barrier to seal the blood vessel leakage. Clottocytes in contrast would work by unfurling a fiber mesh to provide an overlapping net to trap blood cells. A single injection of clottocytes could provide a clotting function that is 10,000 times more effective than an equal volume of natural platelets. This would lead to serious bleeding being halted in a matter of seconds once the clottocytes have entered the bloodstream and reached the site of need. Previously injected clottocytes that passively remain in the body could be triggered through the application of acoustic pulses, indicating a blood vessel leakage that requires clotting. Promising results have been produced from synthetic platelets formed from Arg-Gly-Asp functionalized nanoparticles. The synthetic platelets halved bleeding when injected into rat models. The effect of the treatment exceeded the results produced by current clinical treatments for uncontrolled bleeding. Such tests indicate the vast potential for future treatments by more developed clottocytes.
Benefits of nanomachine injection for the treatment of infection
Microbivores are proposed nanomachines which act like phagocytes. Natural phagocytes are a type of white blood cell that can fight infection by ingesting foreign organisms. The microbivore design would also function in a similar manner by implementing a digest and discharge protocol. Intravenous injection of microbivores has the advantage of being less invasive than other forms of infection treatment. Furthermore, nanoscale technology also provides the benefit of reducing biochemical reaction times and increasing the speed of treatment in comparison to current forms of drug delivery. The hypothetical nanomachine is expected to require only 200 picowatts of power to trap and digest microorganisms in the blood stream at a rate of two microns of organic material per 30 seconds of power output. This would provide infection treatment that is around 1000 times faster than both natural phagocyte function and antibiotic-assisted phagocytic treatments. Microbivores may also produce treatment efficiency that is 80 times greater than macrophages, specialist immune system cells that fight infection in the body. The microbivore nanomachine could also be employed for the destruction of nonbacterial pathogens such as viruses and parasites.
- Saha, M. 2009. Nanomedicine: promising tiny machine for the healthcare in future – a review, Oman Medical Journal, 24, pp. 242-247. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3243873/
- Freitas Jr, R.A. 2001. Clottocytes: artificial mechanical platelets https://www.foresight.org/Nanomedicine/
- Bertram, J.P. et al. 2009. Synthetic platelets: nanotechnology to halt bleeding, Science Translational Medicine, 1, pp. 11ra22. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2992987/
- Deepthi, M.S. 2012. Microbivores: Artificial mechanical phagocytes using digest and discharge protocol for the 2nd international conference on pharmaceutical regulatory affairs, Pharmaceutical Regulatory Affairs, 1, pp. 200-200. https://www.omicsonline.org/proceedings/microbivores-artificial-mechanical-phagocytes-using-digest-and-discharge-protocol-7528.html