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Author(s): Vania Munjar1



    South Forsyth High School, Cumming, GA, 30041

Published In:   Volume - 1,      Issue - 1,     Year - 2021

Cite this article:
Vania Munjar (2021). Ramifications of Nanotechnology on Common Human Disorders. Spectrum of Emerging Sciences, 1(1), pp. 56-60. 10.55878/SES2021-1-1-12

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Spectrum of Emerging Sciences, 1 (1) 2021 56-60


Spectrum of Emerging Sciences



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Ramifications of Nanotechnology on Common Human Disorders

Vania Munjara*

a*South Forsyth High School, Cumming, GA, 30041.        

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Original Research Article

Received:  7 November  2021

Accepted: 22 November 2021









Ultrafine Particles,






This review article will go over the ramification of nanotechnology or more specifically nanomedicine and nanoparticles on human disorders. Nanotechnology is a broad field and can cover many aspects but this article’s capability is limited and will mainly go over the potential advantages and disadvantages of this upcoming piece of technology. The article attempts to put nanoparticles into perspective by offering simple ratios. It then goes on to talk about the varied types of applications of nanotechnology in fields in and outside of medicine. The article explains the two main types of targeted drug delivery systems: systemic system and pulmonary delivery and then dives deep into the specific effects of nanotechnology on a few particular human disorders like tuberculosis and more. The effects range from reduction of toxicity and minimal side effects to negative impacts on the environment and DNA exposure. We then wrap up this study by looking at prospective gaps in the field like unknown surface properties and social, economic, and legal concerns. This study is designed to give one a deeper overview of the varied range of effects that nanotechnology not only has on the human body but also on areas outside the human body. Furthermore, this study is in no way meant to impersonate someone else’s work nor convince a person to act in a certain way.



The Nanotechnology is the term used to describe materials and/or processes that operate at a very minute scale. To put this kind of technology into perspective we can see the sizes of DNA, red blood cells, and the width of a human hair(1)(2). DNA is 2.5 nanometers, a red blood cell is 7000 nanometers and human hair is 80,000 nanometers wide. Nanoparticles are the kind of particles from the technology known as nanotechnology and are used for their chemical properties. These kinds of particles are already used in our day-to-day life products like sunscreen, foods, and clothing(3).

Nanotechnology is a ground-breaking path in technological development that deals with material management at the nanometer scale. Nanotechnology is a broad term that refers to any nanoscale technology with a wide range of real-world applications. Nanotechnology application of chemical, physical, and biological systems at scales ranging from individual molecules or atoms to submicron particles(4). Carbon nanomaterials' use has paved the way for a slew of new technologies in nanomedicine and bioelectronics.

Nanotechnology has become a multidisciplinary field in recent years, with a fundamental understanding of the electrical, optical, magnetic, and mechanical properties of nanostructures promising to deliver the next generation of functional materials with a wide range of applications(5).

Nanostructures have helped solve technological and environmental problems(6). As seen, nanotechnology has the potential to alter our perceptions of humans and give us the ability to solve global problems.

Nanotechnology has been widely used for diagnosing and treating human diseases such as tuberculosis, human immunodeficiency diseases, and malaria(7). The creation of neuro-sized carriers and targeted drug delivery systems are the root cures for previously mentioned human diseases(8). Previous studies have shown that nanotechnology can potentially suppress immune responses. However, its effects are very undermined in the field of human diseases like neurological disorders(9). This study will aim to describe the applications of nanotechnology, and more precisely the potential ramifications of nanomedicine and as a result the potential gaps in the effects of this upcoming piece of technology(10).

II. How Nanomedicine works:     


A.     Sustained systemic delivery:

Systems are being delivered that not only reduce the dose frequency of drugs but also ease the rate of frequency. As seen by tuberculosis, the current treatment plans include frequent high dosing of medication. Such a plan leads to failure of treatment. 2 main systems of local delivery are pulmonary delivery and systemic delivery(11). In the case of sustained release, the serum concentration gradually decreases over time whereas in an immediate release the serum concentration immediately decreases after ‘x’ amount of time after treatment.

B.     Pulmonary Delivery:

Mainly used for respiratory diseases as it allows for greater exposure to the drug and works by deactivating enzymes at a rapid pace(12). This leads to the production of biofilms which are when bacteria accumulate on a surface and produce a matrix that comprises polysaccharides. (Figure 1)

C.     Targeted drug delivery:

Targeted delivery of drugs to infected sites can not decrease toxicity but improve efficiency as well. Serum proteins are absorbed on the surface of nano-carriers which leads to phagocytosis by the macrophages. Nano-carriers are primarily used for targeted delivery to the macros themselves. Free drugs can be delivered both at infected and uninfected sites but nanocarriers are only permitted to be delivered at infected sites. These cells either take up intracellular pathogens being delivered as they are targeted toward pathogen-specific nanobodies(13).

III. Application of Nanotechnology to human disorders :

Nanomedicine usually deals with advancing theories and specific apparatuses to prevent and diagnose diseases. At times, the application of nanoparticles to human diseases has led to direct contact of these particles with the human body(14). Nanomedicine usually works by detecting and repairing damaged tissues at the molecular level. Despite the advantages of nanoparticles like their ability to locate diseases, once nanoparticles finish their job they are recognized by the body as invaders. This defense system is one of the reasons that keep scientists from further progression of nanomedicine(15).

A.     Advantages:


Reduction of Toxicity:

Even though it is not possible to distinguish between drug and nanoparticle toxicity, the use of nanoparticles as drug carriers may reduce the toxicity of the included medication. Drug delivery systems are either targeted at a specific location or designed to gradually release therapeutic agents in the desired location. It is furthermore seen that gold nanoparticles' structure and features make them viable for a wide range of biological applications. Toxicity, on the other hand, has been seen consuming these systems. Cationic particles were significantly harmful to 2 nm gold particles, according to (16), but anionic particles on the other hand were non-toxic. When delivered to mice for tumor treatment, such minuscule gold nanoparticles were proven to be non-toxic(17)(18). On a similar scale, on the cellular levels epithelial and dendritic cells and macrophages are used to test the toxicity of specific kinds of nanotechnology. For example in human epithelial cells, A549 ( an epithelial cell line) is used to figure out the immune cells’ response to artificially engineered nanomaterials(7).

Minimal side effects:

Nanoparticles are used in multiple fields, and one of those fields is molecular imaging where nanoparticles detect and quantify molecular changes. Some properties of nanoparticles that make this possible are high photostability and tolerance to high brightness levels. This kind of site-specific drug delivery system has minimal side effects which include improved bioavailability and biocompatible(19)(20). As discussed previously, silver and gold nanoparticles have strong anti-fungal properties and as a result, are inert or highly stable. This causes minimal to no side effects on the human body when used under certain precautions(21).


Figure 1: A simplified process of how sustained pulmonary delivery works.


Ultrafine particles and Nanoparticles (UFPs and NPs)

Two main types of particles used in nanomedicine are UFPS and NPS. These two particles are similar in size with regard to diameters. UFP stands for ‘ultrafine particles’ and they usually have a diameter of fewer than 100 nanometers. Moreover, UFPs have been found to have longer lifespans in the atmosphere and as a result, can be transported a bit over a few thousand kilometers. They are transported from different geographical locations and contain different concentrations of metal compounds that are bound to the surface of these ultrafine particles. Since they can be transported to such large ranges they can also remain suspended in the air for prolonged periods. The different primary particles emitted through chemical reactions are SO2, O2, and NO2. Their high surface area ratio allows them to carry large amounts of pollutants and glasses. As seen, UFPs have a wide range of chemical, physical and thermodynamic properties. NPs unlike UFPs are engineering particles with diameter sizes less than 100 nanometers. These have certain physical and chemical properties that are not visible by the naked eye through a microscope. Some processes through which NPs can be produced are grinding and milling. This term through this study is used to differentiate between UFPs.

B.     Disadvantages


DNA Damage:

In a study, scientists grew BeWo cells (commonly used to model the placental barrier) in a laboratory. These cells were then exposed to cobalt chromium nanoparticles and transferred onto cultures of human brain cells that had DNA damage. Exposures to mice discovered that the exposures caused DNA damage in the newborn’s hippocampus (a part of the brain involved in memory). The researchers demonstrated that cells processed the nanoparticles through a natural cellular pathway known as autophagy. This resulted in those cells producing signaling molecules which caused DNA damage to brain cells and neurons. This finding was confirmed because the amount of DNA damage was reduced when autophagy was blocked. Astrocytes are the most common cell type in the brain and their presence of astrocytes was required for DNA damage to neurons. When astrocytes are used as the independent variable they cause damage to neighboring neurons(22). This could have effects on further understanding of how astrocyte behavior affects neuronal health in a variety of neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease, and as a result, justify their continued development as potential drug targets.

Negative impacts on the environment:

Nanoscale materials are becoming smaller and it has become more difficult to detect toxic nanoparticles in waste that may pollute the environment. Nanoparticles can interact with their surroundings in multiple ways including attachment to a carrier and transportation through underground water via bio-uptake, contaminants, or organic compounds(23). Conventional transport to sensitive environments may be viable where the nanoparticles can break up into colloidal nanoparticles. Nanoparticles interact with and as a result healthier environment in 4 primary ways:

Hydrophilic & Hydrophobic nanoparticle: Nanoparticles have larger surface areas than bulk materials and as a result, can cause more harm to the human body and environment than other particles. For example in regards to hydrophobic and hydrophilic nanoparticles, researchers are currently developing Titanium Oxide (TiO2) powder as a coating inclusion to reduce the effects of weathering(24).

Contaminants: There are mainly two methods for releasing nanoparticles into the atmosphere. Nanoparticles are emitted directly into the atmosphere from the source known as primary emission. However, the particles may also be emitted naturally. As seen these nanoparticles attach to contaminants and travel which could have negative repercussions because they could be transported to unhealthy waste sites like nuclear power plant sites.

Solubility: Scientists are inventing nanoparticles for toxicological testing since many of the nanoparticles are soluble in water and can be difficult to separate from waste if handled incorrectly. 

Disposal: If waste products like the remains of nanomaterials are disposed of improperly it can cause environmental problems. Toxic waste could spill into nearby water bodies which could lead to depletion of oxygen levels, decreasing biodiversity as well as noise and air pollution.

Potential Gaps/Concerns:

Even though we get to experience this kind of technology in our daily lives, there are many implications to it. The toxic nature of these particles is known to be affected due to the particle’s shape, size, and chemical composition along with a few surface properties. Toxicity is present to such an extent that particles of different forms but the same chemical composition can have varying toxic properties. The uncertainty is heightened by the company's carelessness to legally label and register these products in the system. One main effect of this action is that usually no one, not even the government, gets to know that a certain product contains nanoparticles. Other issues include social, legal, and economic ones(25)

Property Issues:

A patent attorney should fulfill the process of a nanotechnology patent application. An examiner may further claim that a product lacks uniqueness because the nanostructure material was previously present in a product. Due to this reason, legal officers have warned that a patent creates a negative impact on progress in nanotechnology. Many patents have the potential to have an impact on the future progression of nanotechnology(26). Patents have the potential to replace raw materials but ever since their application has increased, it has led to buying a license from the company of IBM

Impact on Employment:

The use of specific production factors by nanotechnology has an immense impact on labor. Some businesses are more likely to incur a high demand for the scientists or technicians needed to develop new ideas into processes as this field advances. Multiple labor services are also required, which leads to higher employment rates. This is because if one is knowledgeable in computer science fields then one does not need to be knowledgeable in nanotechnologies.

Legal concerns:

National differences within regulatory authorities will be a challenge during the clinical trial stage, especially when conducting international trials. The acceptability of these nanosystems by patients must be considered. The International Center for Technology Assessment and other consumer groups filed a lawsuit against the FDA in 2006, accusing the agency lacked initiative in regulating nanomaterial-containing(27) products under its jurisdiction. In response, the FDA established a Nano Task Force. As seen, a network of stakeholders will need to merge for nanomedicines to be successfully translated which can include academics, industry and government investors, and contracted research organizations. Thus as seen, nanotechnology is a multidisciplinary field that necessitates intellectual property and commercialization strategies to succeed.

Economic concerns:

Lowering the cost of new drugs and nanotechnology-based systems will be a major challenge. New drug development is costly in terms of global health solutions. Existing drugs could be reformulated in nanocarriers to achieve similar efficiency and safety goals at a much lower cost. However, in developing countries one currently approved nano-system (an amphotericin B liposomal formulation) is not cost-effective(27).

IV. Conclusion:

Nanotechnology is an upcoming field of technology with many effects, both positive and negative, on common human disorders like tuberculosis. Nanotechnology as a general overview that refers to any technology on a nanoscale has varied implications. For many years nanomedicine has been used to find cures for multiple human deficiency disorders. Nanomedicine is delivered to the specified areas in the human body through sustained systemic delivery which focuses on the specific frequency of drugs being delivered. Pulmonary delivery allows for greater exposure to the drug and deactivating enzymes. The third form of delivery known as targeted delivery works by delivering drugs in specifically targeted areas. Some advantages of nanomedicine include reduction of toxicity, minimal side effects, and the use of ultrafine particles and nanoparticles. While toxicity is seen in consuming systems, anionic particles are non-toxic and are under study with gold. Such gold nanoparticles have strong anti-fungal properties which lead to their stable state. Likewise, due to the size and chemical properties of ultrafine particles, nanoparticles lead these to be studied in varied fields. However, the disadvantages mainly include DNA damage and negative impacts on the environment of nanoparticles. DNA damage was confirmed by the study which used astrocytes as the independent variable. Negative effects on the environment are due to hydrophilic and hydrophobic interactions, contaminants, solubility properties, and incorrect forms of disposal. Despite all of these implications though some issues regarding this field have still been left incomplete like social, legal, and economic issues. Over time though as concerns are addressed with the International Center for Technology and The U. S Food and Drug Administration, not only will patients be easier to obtain in this field, a healthy consumer and environment relationship with nanoparticles will be maintained.

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