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Nanotechnology in Medicine


Although not an emerging technology, nanotechnology promises to create submicroscopic, self-replicating robots that could mean the end of disease, even immortality. Molecular Nanotechnology is a hybrid of chemistry and engineering that would let us manufacture anything with atomic precision. With a computer, once data is broken down and organized into combinations of 1s and 0s, it can be easily reproduced and distributed. With matter, the basic building blocks are atoms and the combinations of atoms that make up molecules. Nanotechnology lets you manipulate those atoms and molecules, making it possible to manufacture, replicate, and distribute any substance known to humans as easily and cheaply as you can replicate data on a computer.

The implications of being able to manufacture molecules are staggering. We could replicate any kind of material, from metal and wood to food and DNA. And if you listen to some of the scientists leading the charge, it's not a dream; in fact, they say the mastery of nanotechnology is only a question of when, not if. Nanotechnology could mean the end of disease as we know it. If you caught a cold or contracted AIDS, you'd just drink a teaspoon of liquid that contained an army of molecule-sized nanobots programmed to enter your body's cells and fight viruses. If a genetic disease ran in your family, you'd ingest nanobots that would burrow into your DNA and repair the defective gene(s). Even traditional plastic surgery would be eliminated, as medical nanobots could change your eye color, alter the shape of your nose, or even devour all of your excess fatty tissue without surgery. 

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"The human body is comprised of molecules, hence the availability of molecular nanotechnology will permit dramatic progress in human medical services. More than just an extension of "molecular medicine," nanomedicine will employ molecular machine systems to address medical problems, and will use molecular knowledge to maintain and improve human health at the molecular scale."



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