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Like primitive engineers faced with advanced technology, medicine must ‘catch up' with the technology level of the human body before it can become really effective. Since the human body is basically an extremely complex system of interacting molecules (i.e., a molecular machine), the technology required to truly understand and repair the body is molecular machine technology. A natural consequence of this level of technology will be the ability to analyze and repair the human body as completely and effectively as we can repair any conventional machine today
Nanotechnology is “Research and technology development at the atomic, molecular and macromolecular levels in the length scale of approximately 1 -100 nanometer range, to provide a fundamental understanding of phenomena and materials at the nanoscale and to create and use structures, devices and systems that have novel properties and functions because of their small and/or intermediate size.”
This paper will describe a micro/nano scale medical robot that is within the range of current of medical problems where accumulation of undesired organic substances interferes with normal bodily function.
It is the application of nanotechnology (engineering of tiny machines) to the prevention and treatment of disease in the human bodys. More specifically, it is the use of engineered nanodevices and nanostructures to monitor, repair, construct and control the human biological system on a molecular level. The most elementary of nanomedical devices will be used in the diagnosis of illnesses. A more advanced use of nanotechnology might involve implanted devices to dispense drugs or hormones as needed in people with chronic imbalance or deficiency states. Lastly, the most advanced nanomedicine involves the use of Nanorobots as miniature surgeons. Such machines might repair damaged cells, or get inside cells and replace or assist damaged intracellular structures. At the extreme, nanomachines might replicate themselves, or correct genetic deficiencies by altering or replacing DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) molecules.
Introduce the device into the body:
We need to find a way of introducing the nanomachine into the body, and allowing it access to the operations site without causing too much ancillary damage. We have already made the decision to gain access via the circulatory system.
The first is that the size of the nanomachine determines the minimum size of the blood vessel that it can traverse. We want to avoid damaging the walls of whatever blood vessel the device is in, we also do not want to block it much, which would either cause a clot to form, or just slow or stop the blood flow. What this means is that the smaller the nanomachine the better. However, this must
be balanced against the fact that the larger the nanomachine the more versatile and effective it can be. This is especially important in light of the fact that external control problems become much more difficult if we are trying to use multiple machines, even if they don't get in each other's way.
The second consideration is we have to get it into the body without being too destructive in the first place. This requires that we gain access to a large diameter artery that can be traversed easily to gain access to most areas
of the body in minimal time. The obvious candidate is the femoral artery in the leg. This is in fact the normal access point to the circulatory system for operations that require access to the bloodstream for catheters, dye injections, etc., so it will suit our purposes.
Move the device around the body:
We start with a basic assumption: that we will use the circulatory system to allow our device to move about. We must then consider two possibilities: (a) carried to the site of operations,(b) to be propelled
The first possibility is to allow the device to be carried to the site of operations by means of normal blood flow. There are a number of requirements for this method . We must be able to navigate the bloodstream; to be able to guide the device so as to make use of the blood flow. This also requires that there be an uninterrupted blood flow to the site of operations. In the case of tumors, there is very often damage to the circulatory system that would prevent our device from passively navigating to the site. In the case of blood clots, of course, the flow of blood is dammed and thus our device would not be carried to the site without the capability for active movement. Another problem with this method is that it would be difficult to remain at the site without some means of maintaining position, either by means of an anchoring technique, or by actively moving against the current.