Ethical Issue With Nanomedicine Term Paper

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Term Paper on Ethical Issue With Nanomedicine Assignment

The term "nanomedicine" is mainly a reference to the scientific technology called nanotechnology which is used to enhance or sustain health at a small level. This technology is being used in medical domains: such as the processes involved in the production of tissue in the human body; the transportation of drugs that help in the DNA treatment; as well as, studies that concentrate on the diagnostic instruments and procedures. The single most important merit that this form of health sustenance has over other medical procedures is its volume. Its volume is as small as a fragmented particle and this particle influences the duration of the effect of the serum and has a very specific design of deposition. Both these aspects allow the nanosize medicines to be used in smaller amounts but have a greater healing and treatment effect. The utilization of nanomedicine has also helped in managing efficient and timely transportation of medicine to different places through the use of accurate directions. Even though nanomedicine and nanoparticles are being utilized in more and more medical procedures for effective treatment, there has been very little research done on the negative effects that they might have on the health of the people and the environment if they are exposed to them. Another significant area of research in nanomedicine is effective policy making for developing this technology along with social, economic, political and institutional ethics. There already have been cases where the breathing in of nanoparticles has led to serious lung damage. One of the other known problems is that the consistent nature of the nanoparticles, along with their physical and chemical attributes, and the environmental structure can in conformity lead to toxicological reactions. Nanotoxicological stats even though are at this time inadequate but if studied more could be significant in bringing a new dimension to the medicinal studies and industries; it could be of great help to the medical boards in explaining the instruments being used while finding a way to stabilize or equalize the pros and cons of its use which in effect will lead to an increased utilization of these instruments without causing any harm to the human and/or ecological health.

Explanation of problem

The initiation of nanotechnology, even though, was in the realm of scientific literature and theory but it has swiftly become an integral part of medical studies and research. Nanomedicine and technology is now being regularly and popularly tested for various applications in numerous pharmaceutical and biotechnology organizations as well as government corporations. Even the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in United States has stepped into the realm of testing the nanotechnology and numerous particle-supported treatments and instruments have been approved or are currently being tested. Also, nanomedicine has been approved for the human testing of the treatment of cancer after numerous clinical successes (Service, 2005; Gordon, 2005). This is why we can see big corporations and numerous counties as well as governments investing in nanomedicine from the national funds; like the National Cancer Institute (NCI) that had recently invested $144 million in the cancer nanotechnology proposal which will be the financial aid for several cancer nanotechnology institutions (Service, 2005; National Cancer Institute, 2004]. One of the major reason for this massive investment is the belief of numerous medical experts that with the path that nanotechnology is on right now; it will expand and perhaps in the next few years provide the most efficient and effective methods of diagnostic trials and studies; be applicable in the synthetic biological configurations that help in the healing and adjustment in the tissue structures; help eradicate cancer cells as well as transportation of drugs/medicines (Kubik, Bogunia-Kubik, Sugisaka, 2005). The influence and consequence of the development of nanotechnology will perhaps be of the same magnitude as that of the DNA innovation. The current path of investments in nanotechnology will make it an $18 billion industry by end of 2014 (Hunt, 2004).

The social response to the incorporation of nanomedicine has been somewhat parallel. Even though there are ecologists who have spoken of the hazards that nanotechnology can have towards the environment, there has not really been a breaking out revolt against it (Friedman and Egolf, 2005). Numerous studies have shown that most people are not aware of the use of nanotechnology and seem to have no preference (Friedman and Egolf, 2005). With the exception of Michael Crichton, who in his article Prey, criticized the use of nanotechnology the media has posed a very balanced stance by presenting both the pros and cons of the use of nanotechnology (Friedman and Egolf, 2005; Crichton 2002).

It has been one of the major talks amongst scientists and government administrators to make the common public aware of the pros and cons and the use of nanotechnology to avoid any aggressive reactions like those that occurred in Europe and America over the genetically modified (GM) provisions (Friedman and Egolf, 2005). Its is important to consider and candidly confer the social and moral problems that could occur due to the use of nanomedicine to the public because it was the absence of these talks that led to the negative response to the genetically modified foods (Friedman and Egolf, 2005; Mills and Federman, 2005).

Nanomedicine is no different from the numerous other technologies that are facing the ethical issues related to the social and environmental damages along with parading pre-defined institutional boundaries that might be the consequence of their use. Nanomedicine faces one new dimension of problems, however, which is the probable increase in human performance from its use which was an evident feature in a TV series Jake 2.0 (Grunwald, 2005; Sheremeta, 2004). The fact of the matter is that scientists are still trying to figure out the standard physical and chemical attributes of the nano-particles which is why there are still many managerial, communicative and minimal risks problems in the trials and testing of this phenomenon on humans (Davis, 2006; Oberdrster, Oberdrster and Oberdrster, 2005). Even though, recent tests and application of the nanomedicine have not led to serious ethical or social and institutional concerns but the potential risks of the increased use of nanoparticles and their effect on the eco-system and human societies has raised a concern for the restructuring of the present procedures. But before discussing ethical concerns of nanomedicine, we will briefly discuss the phenomenon itself.

A concise description of nanotechnology

Nanotechnology is the discipline and management of a particle-based material that has an assortment of 1-100 nanometer (nm) (National Nanotechnology Initiative., 2006), which is one billionth of a meter. To clearly see the magnitude of a nanometer we can see the size of other particles in the dimension of the nm for example the hydrogen particle is almost 0.1 nm; the DNA is in between 1-2 nm; a virus varies between 3-50 nm, while a red blood cell is 300 nm. Ultra fine particles (UFP) are also categorized as organically created nanoparticles. The examples of some of the common UFP are volcanic cinders, viruses or similar fumes, exhaust of the cars, electronic motors, and industrial plants (Oberdrster, Oberdrster and Oberdrster, 2005).

In a general overview the artificial or man-made nanomaterials do not share the physical or chemical attributes of the other scientific materials. The two properties of nanomaterials that greatly influence the biological endeavors are surface-area-to-mass ratio and physicochemical. The probability of biochemical contacts to increase with the use of nano-scale materials is because the chemical reactions mostly happen on the exterior shell of a material and the nano-particles, as compared to other scientific instruments, have a greater surface-area-to-mass ratio. Another plus that the nano-scale particles have is that the quantum mechanical traits of the fragments present in the nano-materials have a significant effect on the physicochemical attributes of the substance. This offers that substance an assortment of electrical, visual and magnetic traits that cannot be found in the other similar scientific materials. The size of the nm is variable from 1 and 100; hence, the traits that the nm has like the liquefying point, shade, and electronic directive will fluctuate accordingly (Oberdrster, Oberdrster and Oberdrster, 2005).

The fact that the nanomaterials have traits that are still pretty much unidentified and inimitable makes them applicable for use in numerous different spheres (National Nanotechnology Initiative, 2006). The nanomaterials that are regularly used in industries and medical spheres are fullerenes, C60 carbon shells, and quantum dots while other commonly used nanomaterials are the nano-tubes, straps, bars, brushes, chains and nano-shells. The fact that the nano-tubes are able to transfer one electron at a time makes them great electronic transmitters, fillers, chemical and biological antennas (Chang, 2005).

Thesis or Focus Statement or Question

Social and bioethics related to nanotechnology needs to be revealed since nanomedicine and nanoparticles are being utilized in more and more medical procedures for effective treatment, but there has been very little research done on the negative effects that they might have on the health of the people and the environment if they are exposed to them.

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"Ethical Issue With Nanomedicine."  May 2, 2007.  Accessed January 23, 2021.