What are the Key Nanotechnology Developments?

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Medically assisted reproduction

Reproductive medicine is in pursuit of alternatives to assist couples looking to achieve pregnancy and preserve fertility. It also aims to diagnose and treat diseases that are impairing the normal operation of the reproductive tract. ART or assisted reproductive technology is backed by nanotechnology to achieve this feat by non-invasive detection, diagnosis and treatment of infertility related disorders. Development of nanobiosensors which are capable of identifying antigens, nucleic acids, antigens, nitrogen species and reactive oxygen are being researched and employed for greater speed and more sensitivity. These nanobiosensors are a part of a more complex lab-on-a-chip tool which requires minimal volumes of analyte and precursors and have the potential to replace conventional bulky and expensive detection systems. Few examples include functionalization of zinc oxide nanorods and gold nanoparticles, iron oxide nanoparticles, silica coated gold nanoparticles with cadmium sulphide quantum dots along with anti-CA125 antibodies for the detection of ovarian cancer. Similar biosensors using anti-PSA antibodies functionalized on gold can detect PSA antigen for prostate cancer. Apart from that, for in vitro maturation, the addition of antioxidants is a prerequisite but these conventional molecules may not exert their function with high efficiency due to their inefficiency in, in-vitro environment, making utilization of nanomaterials an essential.

Wound healing

Wound healing, in general, is a natural and well-structured process. However, several factors disturb the sequence of wound healing. Numerous nanotechnology-based drug delivery systems such as the use of silver, gold, copper, titanium dioxide and zinc oxide nanoparticles against the strains of B. subtilis, E. coli and S. aureus etc. are being commercially employed. Biocompatible scaffolds combined with bioactive molecules regenerate and repair damaged skin tissues. Biomaterials such as chitosan, collagen and polylactic acid have been tested on animals depicting an increased rate of wound contraction and epithelialization.

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