A realistic look at the promises and perils of nanomedicine

November 17, 2011

New nanomaterials: the next nanomedicines? (credit: Centro de Investigación Príncipe Felipe/Molecular Pharmaceutics)

Is the emerging field of nanomedicine a breathtaking technological revolution that promises remarkable new ways of diagnosing and treating diseases, or does it portend the release of dangerous nanoparticles, nanorobots, or nanoelectronic devices that will wreak havoc in the body?

A new review of more than 500 studies on the topic by Centro de Investigación Príncipe Felipe in Spain concludes that neither scenario is likely.

The authors say about 40 nanotechnology health care products are actually in use and nano-sized drugs, drug delivery devices, imaging agents, and other products are on the horizon.

The authors offer suggestions for how best to move a nanomedicine through the drug development process with risks and benefits in mind, and identify key factors critical for development of practical nanomedical technology that is safe and effective.

Ref.: Ruth Duncan and Rogerio Gaspar, Nanomedicine(s) under the Microscope, Molecular Pharmaceutics, 2011; [DOI: 10.1021/mp200394t]