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Nanomedicine: An Unresolved Regulatory Issue.

V. W. Chan
Published 2006 · Medicine

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Nanomedicine is a science that uses nanotechnology to maintain and improve human health at the molecular scale. Current and potential applications of nanotechnology in medicine range from research involving diagnostic devices, drug delivery vehicles to enhanced gene therapy and tissue engineering procedures. Its advantage over conventional medicine lies on its size. Particle size has effect on serum lifetime and pattern of deposition. This allows drugs of nanosize be used in lower concentration and has an earlier onset of therapeutic action. It also provides materials for controlled drug delivery by directing carriers to a specific location. Major efforts are underway, however, very little attention is devoted to assessment of health risks to human or to the ecosystem. Inhaled nanoparticles have already been related to lung injury. It is recognized that physico-chemical properties in conjunction with environmental factors and stability of the nanomaterial all contribute to the overall toxicological responses. Nanotoxicological information, currently insufficient, will be vital in aiding academia, industry and regulatory bodies in elucidating the mechanisms of action, balancing its risk and benefit, thus maximizing the utility of these materials in medicine without compromising public health and environmental integrity.
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