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Nanotechnology allows us to manipulate matter and build new structures at the nanometer scale (a millionth of a millimeter),
the size of a few atoms or molecules. It paves the way not only for the conception of new materials, but also for biological, medical and pharmaceutical applications, in particular via artificial implants for the human body.
Imagine a robot smaller than a micron with a DNA sensor which could in a few minutes or a few seconds detect a potential illness using a drop of saliva or blood. This is Prof. Lieber’s goal at Harvard, who is developing nanowire sensors, almost as small as a molecule, and 1000 times more sensitive than the latest DNA tests. Thanks to this process, we will be able to detect for example, prostate cancer at its inception. Once the anomaly has been detected, some researchers have already developed nanorobots which can repair DNA. These machines are built to enter into the cell’s nucleus, and are equipped with a nanocomputer containing genetic code and the machinery to produce the necessary amino acid strands. This nanocomputer could also block unwanted replication and instantly update our genetic code.
In a few years, nanotechnology will make it possible for us to repair our body and our brain, by partially rebuilding them. According to Ray Kurzweil, a worldwide specialist in modeling technologies, the 21st century will represent 20,000 years of progress, meaning it will be a thousand times more productive than the 20th. As a consequence, every aspect of our lives will undergo profound changes, in every area; from our health to our longevity, our economy, our society.
The 20th century was a century of grandiose achievements, the 21st will be that of the infinitesimally small. These technological revolutions have encouraged the emergence of nanoscience, of which nanomedicine is a part.
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