Medical nanotechnology using genetic material and the need for precaution in design and risk assessments
As a new field of research, medical nanotechnology promises a suite of potential applications for drug delivery, diagnostics and gene therapy. Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is ideal at the nanoscale for use as a backbone when making scaffolded structures and more complex dendrimer constructions owing to its properties as a rigid, linear molecule. Much attention has focused on benefits from scaffolded nanoscale constructs but little has been mentioned about the risks associated with such material once inside the human body. The public is starting to focus on the health impacts of nanotechnology including the toxic effects of nanoparticles to living systems. Even though degraded nano-scale genetic material is unlikely to present any significant problems when used therapeutically, the potential risks may be avoided by using bioinformatics database resources when designing these kinds of nanotechnology-based therapeutics.
Keywords: medical nanotechnology, DNA, dendrimer, therapeutics, bioinformatics, targeted delivery, nanotoxicity, risk assessment, nanoparticles