Please wait while the search results are loading...

Nanotechnology Converges with Biotech, Business and Industry Trends Analysis

Because of their small size, nanoscale devices can readily interact with biomolecules on both the surface and the inside of cells.  By gaining access to so many areas of the body, they have the potential to detect disease and deliver treatment in unique ways.  Nanotechnology will help in the creation of “smart drugs” that are more targeted and have fewer side effects than traditional drugs.

Current applications of nanotechnology in health care include drug delivery (in immunosuppressants, hormone therapies, drugs for cholesterol control, and drugs for appetite enhancement) as well as advances in imaging, diagnostics and bone replacement.  For example, the NanoCrystal technology developed by Elan, a major biotechnology company, enhances drug delivery in the form of tiny particles, typically less than 2,000 nanometers in diameter.  The technology can be used to provide more effective delivery of drugs in tablet form, capsules, powders and liquid dispersions.  Abbott Laboratories used Elan’s technology to improve results in its cholesterol drug TriCor.  Par Pharmaceutical Companies uses NanoCrystal in its Megace ES drug for the improvement of appetite in people with anorexia.

Since biological processes, including events that lead to cancer, occur at the nanoscale at and inside cells, nanotechnology offers a wealth of tools that are providing cancer researchers with new and innovative ways to diagnose and treat cancer.  In America, the National Cancer Institute has established the Alliance for Nanotechnology in Cancer ( ) in order to foster breakthrough research.

Nanoscale devices have the potential to radically change cancer therapy for the better and to dramatically increase the number of effective therapeutic agents.  These devices can serve as customizable, targeted drug delivery vehicles capable of ferrying large doses of chemotherapeutic agents or therapeutic genes into malignant cells while sparing healthy cells, greatly reducing or eliminating the often unpalatable side effects that accompany many current cancer therapies.

At the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, Dr. James Baker is working with molecules known as dendrimers to create new cancer diagnostics and therapies, thanks to grants from the National Institutes of Health and other funds.  This is part of a major effort named the Michigan Nanotechnology Institute for Medicine and Biological Sciences.  In 2014, Merck & Co. subsidiary NanoBio Corporation licensed the use of a nanoeumlsion adjuvant technology developed at the Institute.

A dendrimer is a spherical molecule of uniform size (five to 100 nanometers) and well-defined chemical structure.  Dr. Baker’s lab is able to build a nanodevice with four or five attached dendrimers.  To deliver cancer-fighting drugs directly to cancer cells, Dr. Baker loads some dendrimers on the device with folic acid, while loading others with drugs that fight cancer.  Since folic acid is a vitamin, many proteins in the body will bind with it, including proteins on cancer cells.  When a cancer cell binds to and absorbs the folic acid on the nanodevice, it also absorbs the anticancer drug.  For use in diagnostics, Dr. Baker is able to load a dendrimer with molecules that are visible to an MRI.  When the dendrimer, due to its folic acid, binds with a cancer cell, the location of that cancer cell is shown on the MRI.  Each of these nanodevices may be developed to the point that they are able to perform several advanced functions at once, including cancer cell recognition, drug delivery, diagnosis of the cause of a cancer cell, cancer cell location information and reporting of cancer cell death.  Universities that are working on the leading edge of cancer drug delivery and diagnostics using nanotechnology include MIT and Harvard, as well as Rice University and the University of Michigan.

Meanwhile, at the University of Washington, a research group led by Babak A. Parviz has investigated manufacturing methods that resemble that of plants and other natural organisms by “self-assembly.”  If man-made machines could be designed to assemble themselves, it could revolutionize manufacturing, especially on the nanoscale level.  Researchers are studying ways to program the assembly process by sparking chemical synthesis of nanoscale parts such as quantum dots or molecules which then bind to other parts through DNA hybridization or protein interactions.  The group led by Professor Parviz is attempting to produce self-assembled high-performance silicon circuits on plastic.  It is conceivable that integrated circuits, biomedical sensors or displays could be “grown” at rates exponentially faster than current processes.



A Representative List of Organizations that Have Used our Research and Products:


I’m amazed at how much information is available and the various ways to access it. This will be a major resource for our serious job seekers.

Career Services, Penn State University

Plunkett Research Online provides a great ‘one stop shop’ for us to quickly come up to speed on major industries. It provides us with an overall analysis of the market, key statistics, and overviews of the major players in the industry in an online service that is fast, easy to navigate, and reliable.

Wendy Stotts, Manager, Carlson Companies

I really appreciate the depth you were able to get to so quickly (for our project). The team has looked through the material and are very happy with the data you pulled together.

Hilton Worldwide, Marketing Manager

We are especially trying to push Plunkett since all of our students have to do so much industry research and your interface is so easy to use.

Library Services, St. John’s College

We are especially trying to push Plunkett’s since all of our students have to do so much industry research and your interface is so easy to use.

Gary White, Business Materials Selector, Penn State University

Your tool is very comprehensive and immensely useful. The vertical marketing tool is very helpful, for it assists us in that venue, as well as targeting customers’ competition for new sales…The comprehensive material is absolutely fabulous. I am very impressed, I have to say!

Tammy Dalton, National Account Manager, MCI

The more I get into the database, the happier I am that we’ll have it–REALLY happy!!! Between the quality and affordability of your product, its appeal to and value for our users, and the inestimably ethical and loyalty-guaranteeing conduct of your business, I will always have more than sufficient praises to sing for Plunkett Research.

Michael Oppenheim, Collections & Reference Services, UCLA

Plunkett Research Online is an excellent resource…the database contains a wealth of useful data on sectors and companies, which is easy to search and well presented. Help and advice on how to conduct, export and save searches is available at all stages.

Penny Crossland, Editor, VIP Magazine
Real Time Web Analytics