IMAGINE bacteria-sized robots performing surgeries on your organs. In the future, these “nanosurgeons” will be a staple in every operating room, leaving no scars like conventional surgery does.

Nanotechnology is the development and engineering of devices which will operate at the atomic level. The “nano” prefix comes from nanometer, billionth of a meter or about 10 hydrogen atoms laid side by side.

According to Dr. Augusto Morales of the College of Science Department of Mathematics and Physics, nanotechnology provides potential significant technological advances for the next 50 years.

“It’s a promising new field though immensely expensive,” he told the Varsitarian.

Morales said nanotechnology is dependent on the basic science and techniques of a number of disciplines including physics, chemistry, engineering, agriculture, material science, molecular biology, and medicine.

The Royal Society, United Kingdom’s prestigious national academy of science, believes applications of nanotechnology in health care, security, electronics, communications, and computing can start the next industrial revolution.

“It’s a revolution in the sense that for the first time, we have control over things at the molecular level,” said Morales.

Most nanotech applications today are in medicine, particularly in cancer treatment. Two concrete examples are the Liposomes, a “first generation” of nanoscale drug device, which deliver anti-cancer medicine directly at tumors, and a nanoparticulate formation of Taxol, an anti-cancer compound, for treating advanced-stage breast cancer.

Other notable clinical features of nanotechnology are identification and visualization of the development of a disease, increased effectiveness and reduced side effects of drugs, and early signals of drug delivery. The American-based National Cancer Institute has recently allocated $144.3 million to develop the potential of nanotechnology in prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

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Pag-alala kay Arturo Tolentino

Although the promises of nanotechnology sound great, researchers say its applications will be fully harnessed only within the next century. Once nanotechnology’s potentials are realized, it might become man’s greatest scientific achievement yet, completely changing every aspect of our lives. With reports from www.rcs.org and www.zyvex.com

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