Ill health and disease are caused largely by damage at the molecular and cellular level. Today's surgical instruments are, at this scale, crude and large. From the point of view of a cell, yet a sharp scalpel is a blunt tool more suitable to injure and tear than cure and heal. Modern surgery works alone because body cells have an outstanding capability to recover, bury their dead and cure over the injury.
Nanotechnology should let us efficiently build a wider range of complex molecular machinery including molecular computers. It will allow us make fleets of computer driven molecular instruments much smaller than human cell and constructed with the precision and accuracy of medicine molecules. Such instruments will allow medicine intervene in a controlled and sophisticated way at the molecular and cellular level. They could remove obstacles in the circulatory system, destroy cancer cells, or take control the function of ganelles. Just as the artificial heart, thus in future we could have an artificial mitochondrion.
We could design a mini device able to recognize and destroy cancer cells. This device would have a computer, numerous binding sites to find out the concentration of particular molecules, and a delivery of some toxin that could be selectively unrestricted and was able to destroy a cell recognized as cancerous.
The machine would circulate freely within the body, and would occasionally sample its surroundings by determining if the binding sites were not or were occupied. Occupancy statistics would permit determination of concentration. Present day's monoclonal antibodies can bind to only a particular kind of protein or several other antigens, and are not effective against nearly all cancers. The cancer destroying device recommended here could include a dozen various binding sites and could observe the concentrations of a number of different types of molecules. Computer could determine wither outline of the concentrations robust a pre-programmed "cancerous" outline and would, while a cancerous outline was encountered, release the toxin.
The cancer destroyer could therefore determine that it was situated in the big toe. Wither the aim was to destroy the cancer of colon; the cancer killer in big toe would not discharge its toxin. Very accurate control over position of the activities of cancer killer's could thus be attained.
The cancer killer could enthusiastically be reprogrammed to hit different objects. This general design could offer a flexible process of destroying unnecessary compositions (bacterial infestations, etc).
While supplying oxygen to healthy tissue and cell should preserve metabolism, tissues previously suffering from ischemic damage (tissue injury originated from loss of blood circulation) might no longer be capable to correctly metabolize oxygen. Particularly, the mitochondria will sometime fail. Rising oxygen levels in presence of partially functional or nonfunctional mitochondria will be fruitless in restoring the tissue. Nevertheless, more direct metabolic help could be provided. Direct release of ATP, joined with selective absorption or release of dangerous metabolites (using the type of selective transport process mentioned earlier), should be efficient in restoring cellular activities even when mitochondrial activities had been compromised.
The machines restoring metabolite levels, inserted into body, should be capable to operate independently for many hours (depending on energy requirements, the storage capability of the tool and uptake rates and the release required to continue metabolite levels).
Particularly, there might have been important free radical injure to different molecular formations within the cell, as well as its DNA. If injure was important restoring metabolite levels would be inadequate to restore the cell into a healthy condition. If the cellular state was worsening, some general way of slowing additional deterioration would be wanted.
The injection of compounds or cooling of the tissue that would block or slow deteriorative activities would be desirable. As independent molecular devices with externally supplied power could be utilized to restore activities, maintaining activities in the tissue would no longer be dangerous. Deliberately turning off the cell metabolism to stop further injure would become a feasible alternative. Following several interval of reduced metabolic activity throughout which injure was repaired, the metabolism of tissue could be restarted yet again in a managed fashion.
Nanotechnology will provide us new tools to test tissue in exceptional detail. Sensors, tiny in size, would provide us an exquisitely precise and inside look at current function. The tissue that was either flash frozen or chemically fixed could be evaluated exactly down to molecular level, providing a fully detailed "snapshot" of molecular, cellular and subcellular activities.
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