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properties. Dendrimer and liposome technologies are derived from well-established
bottom-up synthetic techniques, built to scale using chemistry and self-assembling lipids,
The top-down development path is guided to the nanoscale by fabrication tools from the
electronics industry, where techniques of lithography, embossing and contact printing are
used to create micron-scale array elements and fluidic pathways. These micron-sized
components can be used to manipulate submicron (nanometer) amounts of material.
Ultimately, nanotechnology-based products will require a convergence of the two
approaches for practical use, both to engineer the nanoscale device and to interface with
the outside world. The bottom-up approach permits control of the chemical and structural
architecture; however, manual assembly of individual nanometer-sized components is
clearly prohibitive in time and cost. Top-down technologies provide a progressive interface
from the real world (meters, millimeters, microns) to control at the nanometer scale. LM much earlier in development than liposomes.
Highly insoluble drugs may be reformulated as nanoparticles for more efficient and
controlled uptake, as the small size may
allow them to more readily diffuse through
membranes. This approach was developed
years ago by Elan Pharmaceuticals (Dublin,
Ireland) through a top-down milling
process, which is now being commercialized by NanoCrystal Technologies (King of
Prussia, PA, USA). Other companies working in this field include NanoMed
Pharmaceuticals (Lexington, KY, USA) and SkyePharma (London, UK), which use synthetic methods to more reliably engineer
And finally, there are some interesting
applications of nanoparticles for cholesterol removal, nutritional supplements and
antimicrobials, which are being pursued by
Pharmaceuticals (Lincolnshire, IL, USA)
and NanoBio Corporation (Ann Arbor, MI,
Biosensors and medical devices. Nanotechnology holds great promise for innovation in biosensing, though integration and assembly may be stumbling blocks to early
commercialization (Table 4). Nanotubes
and nanowires have demonstrated unprecedented sensitivity for molecular detection,
where surface-binding events detectably
perturb the material’s electronic properties.
Novel techniques of surface engineering
and patterning also permit new methods of
molecular detection, as shown in work
using nanopore structures for single-molecule detection—with efforts from US
Genomics (Woburn, MA, USA), Agilent
(Palo Alto, CA, USA) and 454 Life Sciences
(Branford, CT, USA).
Other applications of nanoparticles
include their use as contrast agents for magnetic resonance imaging and X-ray imaging
at companies such as Nanospectra
Biosciences and Advance Magnetics
(Cambridge, MA, USA) as well as some
larger corporations, such as General
Electric (Stamford, CT, USA) and Philips
Medical Systems (Andover, MA, USA).
Nanoparticle contrast agents can provide
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This document was uploaded on 09/24/2013.
- Fall '13