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Nanomedicine: promises and challenges for the future of public health

Authors Pautler M, Brenner S

Published 1 October 2010 Volume 2010:5 Pages 803—809


Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 4

Michelle Pautler, Sara Brenner
UAlbany College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, Albany, NY, USA

Abstract: As the scope of nanotechnology applications in medicine evolves, it is important to simultaneously recognize and advance contributions germane to public health. A wide range of innovations in nanomedicine stand to impact nearly every medical specialty and unveil novel ways to improve the quality and extend the duration of life – these gains can be measured at both individual and population levels. For example, heart disease and cancer combined make up approximately half of all deaths in the United States per year, and already, advances in nanomedicine demonstrate great potential to reduce rates of morbidity and mortality due to these diseases. Meanwhile, public health applications of nanomedicine such as rapid and portable diagnostics and more effective vaccinations have the potential to revolutionize global health. Research driven by innovators across disciplines such as engineering, biology, medicine, and public health should collaborate in order to achieve maximal potential impact in health for individuals and populations. In turn, knowledge gaps regarding the potential health and safety implications of exposure to engineered nanomaterials must be continuously addressed and actively researched. Dynamic, proactive, and socially responsible research will drive nanomedicine as it plays an increasingly integral and transformative role in medicine and public health in the 21st century.

Keywords: nanotechnology, medicine, epidemiology, policy, environmental health

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