on March 3rd, 2016

In the biomedical engineering field, cancer research is an important faculty of study. But, there are questions about the viability of current nanotechnology, in terms of creating cancer treatments. The concerns have been raised by the Purdue University Center for Cancer Research whose work includes the “advancement of new medicines, early detection, and diagnostic methods, more effective treatments, and highly efficient drug delivery systems” as stated on their website.

Purdue University is encouraging “changes in the field” due to the current technology not producing “successful clinical results”. The National Cancer Institute in the United States authored the Cancer Nanotechnology Plan 2015 to focus on the “decrease in societal cancer-related morbidity” with the assistance of nanotechnology, a program that is supposed to run for 10 years. Pardue University are now saying that what they’ve seen in the field isn’t working. 

Giving further clarity on the criticisms of the current methods used in nanotechnology, Bumsoo Han, a Purdue University associate professor of mechanical and biomedical engineering, said, “The bottom line is that so far there are only a few successful nanoparticle formulations approved and clinically used, so we need to start thinking out of the box.”

One of the criticisms relates to using laboratory mice that are not useful in reflecting results that would be useful in measuring what happens in human bodies. Pardue University is pushing for “in-vitro experiments that mimic human physiology” instead. 

Earlier this year, in February, biomedical engineers in Wake Forest Baptist Medical Centre claimed they had developed a way to detect “disease biomarkers” with the assistance of nanotechnology. The group of engineers claim they use a new technique that considers nucleic acid sequences and produces an electronic signature to determine the disease biomarkers.

Adam Hall, an assistant professor of biomedical engineering, the main author of the study, said, “We envision this as a potential first-line, noninvasive diagnostic to detect anything from cancer to the Ebola virus.”

So, one university is detecting cancer using nanotechnology, and the other one is trying to figure out how to cure cancer with nanotechnology. Pardue University maintains that the creation of cancer treatments through nanotechnology still needs some work so that one day it might make an impact on the globe. 





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