Your body is a complex thing made up of about 50 trillion cells. Fifty trillion is a huge number — about 10,000 times the number of people on the planet! Most cells in your body are about 5,000 nanometers across or less, which is about 1/20 the width of a strand of hair!
Your brain is made up of cells and so is every other part of your body—your muscles, your skin, all made with cells that work together to keep your body going. Your body is like one big machine that operates with lots of little machines, and the instructions for what all those little machines need to do are coded in your DNA.
Nanotechnology is used to make incredibly small things, things the size of cells or even smaller. It can be used to help understand and fix what is going on inside you. Sometimes when you’re sick you need to take medicine. Medicine can sometimes be pretty powerful and with some illnesses it’s best if you can deliver medicine only to the place in your body that needs it. Nanotechnology can be used to make smart medicine delivery systems that will not just find the right place but will also release the medicine at the optimal time. This protects the rest of the body from medicine it doesn’t need or that could damage healthy cells.
This issue of Nanooze is all about nanomedicine and the ways that nanotechnology can be used to make smarter medicines and understand how they can make us healthier. There is a lot of science fiction out there, far-out stuff that isn’t possible today. Perhaps someday? Sure, you never know what we might invent in the future! But for now, let’s learn the facts.