Nanotechnology is the creation and utilization of materials, devices, and systems through the control of matter on the nanometer-length scale (a nanometer is one billionth of a meter. Nanobiotechnology, an integration of physical sciences, molecular engineering, biology, chemistry and biotechnology holds considerable promise of advances in pharmaceuticals and healthcare. The report starts with an introduction to various techniques and materials that are relevant to nanobiotechnology. It includes some of the physical forms of energy such as nanolasers. Some of the technologies are scaling down such as microfluidics to nanofluidic biochips and others are constructions from bottom up. Application in life sciences research, particularly at the cell level sets the stage for role of nanobiotechnology in healthcare in subsequent chapters.
Some of the earliest applications are in molecular diagnostics. Nanoparticles, particularly quantum dots, are playing important roles. In vitro diagnostics, does not have any of the safety concerns associated with the fate of nanoparticles introduced into the human body. Numerous nanodevices and nanosystems for sequencing single molecules of DNA are feasible. Various nanodiagnostics that have been reviewed will improve the sensitivity and extend the present limits of molecular diagnostics.
An increasing use of nanobiotechnology by the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries is anticipated. Nanotechnology will be applied at all stages of drug development - from formulations for optimal delivery to diagnostic applications in clinical trials. Many of the assays based on nanobiotechnology will enable high-throughput screening. Some of nanostructures such as fullerenes are themselves drug candidates as they allow precise grafting of active chemical groups in three-dimensional orientations. The most important pharmaceutical applications are in drug delivery. Apart from offering a solution to solubility problems, nanobiotechnology provides and intracellular delivery possibilities. Skin penetration is improved in transdermal drug delivery. A particularly effective application is as nonviral gene therapy vectors. Nanotechnology has the potential to provide controlled release devices with autonomous operation guided by the needs.
Nanomedicine is now within the realm of reality starting with nanodiagnostics and drug delivery facilitated by nanobiotechnology. Miniature devices such as nanorobots could carry out integrated diagnosis and therapy by refined and minimally invasive procedures, nanosurgery, as an alternative to crude surgery. Applications of nanobiotechnology are described according to various therapeutic systems. Nanotechnology will markedly improve the implants and tissue engineering approaches as well. Other applications such as for management of biological warfare injuries and poisoning are included. Contribution of nanobiotechnology to nutrition and public health such as supply of purified water are also included.
There is some concern about the safety of nanoparticles introduced in the human body and released into the environment. Research is underway to address these issues. As yet there are no FDA directives to regulate nanobiotechnology but as products are ready to enter market, these are expected to be in place.
Future nanobiotechnology markets are calculated on the basis of the background markets in the areas of application and the share of this market by new technologies and state of development at any given year in the future. This is based on a comprehensive and thorough review of the current status of nanobiotechnology, research work in progress and anticipated progress. There is definite indication of large growth of the market but it will be uneven and cannot be plotted as a steady growth curve. Marketing estimates are given according to areas of application, technologies and geographical distribution starting with 2011. The largest expansion is expected between the years 2016 and 2021.
Profiles of 247 companies, out of over 500 involved in this area, are included in the last chapter along with their 181 collaborations.The report is supplemented with 39 Tables, 24 figures and 700 references to the literature.