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'Small' is becoming big in the medical field with nanotechnology

Article-'Small' is becoming big in the medical field with nanotechnology

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  • The cosmetic medicine field is an industry primed for nanotechnology innovations given the increasing desire of patients to have precision, minimally invasive procedures

It seems like science fiction: tiny robots or computers that deliver their medicine or messages at the molecular level — and just a few short years ago, that's what it would have been — science fiction. But in modern medicine, nanotechnology is very real.

To better understand it, some qualification is in order. For instance, what exactly is nanotechnology? The Center for Responsible Nanotechnology (CRN) defines a nanotechnology as, "the engineering of functional systems at the molecular scale."

A BEAUTIFUL INNOVATION The cosmetic medicine field, with the increasing desire of patients to have precision, ever-minimally invasive procedures, is an industry primed for nanotechnology innovations. BioSante Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq:PBAX) and Medical Aesthetic Technology Corporation (MATC) are not waiting for others to blaze these trails. BioSante has developed BioLook — a patented calcium phosphate nanotechnology (CaP) — as a facial filler. MATC is to continue the development of BioLook, including clinical trials, marketing and meeting regulatory requirements.

How does nanotechnology work in the case of BioLook? "Nanotechnology entails the use of extremely small particles of a substance ideally to increase efficacy and safety," says BioSante CEO Stephen M. Simes. "In the case of BioLook, the particles are very small, solid, smooth particles made of a substance very similar to calcium phosphate. We believe our BioLook will be extremely safe, since the particles will be 'biodegradable' and may be considered natural to the human body."

There's another benefit to the tiny substances that most any patient would appreciate, as well, the company notes. "The small particles allow for easy injection through a small needle and are very malleable for best 'line-filling' effect."

According to a BioSante press release, preclinical studies so far indicate that BioLook performs as well as other fillers, is safe, and lasts at least as long as other injectable fillers. Indications thus far include the treatment of facial wrinkles and larger facial volume filling needs; however, as the promise of the nanoscience comes to fruition, the scope of many more cosmetic treatments could change.

"Nanotechnology may allow for safer and more effective products," Mr. Simes tells Cosmetic Surgery Times , "since they are far less invasive to the body and potentially less likely to clump or agglomerate."

BioSante, of course, isn't the only company or individual investigating tangential uses of nanotechnology for cosmetics. A report of January 21, 2007, notes that Ilsoon Lee, an assistant professor of chemical engineering at Michigan State University, along with Ph.D. student Troy Hendricks, published an online article in the American Chemical Society's Nano Letters in December 2006 that outlines the potential of using infinitesimally small nanoparticles — 50 nm — between films to smooth out the tiny buckles that are the origin of wrinkles. The team discovered that nanoparticles can stop thin polymer films from buckling and wrinkling.

A second MedicalNewsToday report just last April notes, "Five of the U.K.'s leading plastic surgeons launch HEAL: a revolutionary new healing gel originally created to soothe and reduce inflammation of the skin following surgery...The nanotechnology is designed to deliver the products of HEAL with maximum efficiency to the damaged area."

BIG BIZ IN 'SMALL' Nanotechnology may truly be a huge breakthrough for medicine, cosmetic and otherwise; tapping into it will also have massive financial ramifications.

Nanotechnology Now reported on an analysis by NanoMarkets that predicts that by the year 2012, nanotechnology-enabled drug delivery systems would generate $4.8 billion. On a global scale, the Virginia-based consulting firm further predicted that the global drug delivery products and services market would reach $64 billion by 2009 — and that nanotechnologies would encompass a small but rapidly growing portion of that market share.

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