This area of science has the potential to revolutionize the way in which are detected and treated illnesses, from cardiovascular disorders, to diseases such as Alzheimer's, diabetes or cancer. The challenge is that all the advances and discoveries can be used, At last, by patients.

The doctor and German bacteriologist Paul Ehrlich, winner of the Nobel Prize in medicine in 1908 by discovering the arsphenamine, the first effective medicinal treatment against syphilis, coined the term of “magic bullet” (zauberkugel), to refer to therapeutic agents that attacking a pathogen in particular, without damaging the healthy cells of the patient.

More than one century that, scientists are still in the search for that magic bullet capable of attacking diseases clean and accurate, finding a powerful tool in the pursuit of this objective in nanotechnology. The research in this field have advanced rapidly in the last decade and, Despite the fact that in general have remained at an academic level, they have the potential to revolutionize the way in which are detected and treated illnesses, from cardiovascular disorders, hormonal, hypertension, Alzheimer's, arteriosclerosis, Arthritis, diabetes and even in the fight against cancer.

Indeed, in this last disease, there is a “great promise” nanoparticles, says the pharmacologist and researcher holder of the Centre for the development of nanoscience and nanotechnology (Cedenna) the u. Santiago de Chile (Usach), Juan Pablo García-Huidobro. This because the cancer drugs have the problem of toxicity and side effects, by what “We want the nanodrugs have the property of exclusively targeting cancer cells, and that attack not the normal”, raises.

I.e., Act as one “magic bullet”. In this sense, the Director of the center of applied nanotechnology at the U. Wholesale, DRA. Maria comrade, He says that nanoparticles have been used to giving chemotherapy directly to cancer cells, and that research advances to leaps and bounds in all.

Detailed in the respect that it is investigating a method to release insulin controlled through nanocapsules; It has advanced in the encapsulation of active ingredients in nanostructures capable of traversing the pH of the intestinal tract and thus reach hard-to-reach areas of the body more effectively; materials such as carbon nanotubes and Graphene derivatives have helped to monitor levels of nitric oxide related to inflammatory processes, e identify DNA from bacteria using sensors.

To all this, the director of the Centre for research in nanotechnology and advanced materials (UC-100), and the Institute of Physics of the University Catholic scholar, Jose Mejia, It adds the use of carbon nanotubes to convert the light from a laser focused sound waves, “What possibly can be used in surgery non-invasive”; gold nanoparticles, along with infrared light, You can improve the cleaning of instruments in hospital environments; “quantum dots” to treat antibiotic-resistant infections, or using sheets of Graphene for the development of sensors oxide “that it can detect a very low level of cancer cells, as low as three to five cells in a milliliter in a blood sample”.

The Dra. Comrade says that “is an emerging market in which Chile could compete if he manages to transform raw materials into products revalued nanotecnologicamente”, limiting which, According to a report from Grand View Research, the size of the world market of nanomedicine was estimated at US $140 billion in 2016-2017, anticipating to reach $350 billion to the year 2025, registering a greater than 10% annual growth rate.

Sample of the growing scientific interest in nanotechnology and, particularly, of the high expectations that we have about their application in health, is in specialized publications. The Professor of the Faculty of chemical sciences and pharmaceutical the Chile, Marcelo Kogan, He says that only in the half of this year, the number of scientific articles published on the topic corresponds to 63% of all papers on the subject of 2017.

The challenges

According to the Dra. Comrade, nanotechnology applied in medicine can help, potentially, to all areas, but he believes that the greatest impact will be those of early detection of diseases, and diseases that require specific treatment, “that it could benefit from targeted action of drugs through nanotrasportadores, reducing the required dose and toxicity”.

At the regional level, Chile is one of the most advanced countries in research in nanomedicine and nanotechnology in general, being the Academy which, through its multidisciplinary research centers, He has led the initiative.

According to Pablo García-Huidobro, of the Cedenna, the country has enough prepared to continue with the investigations and evidence that human capital, At last, demonstrate that this will be “the medicine of the future”, ensuring that “We have the language, the methodology and ways to make nanoformulaciones”. Cedenna, for example, It has achieved “important” advances in animal trials with nanodrugs on antibiotics, analgesics and antineoplastics, says scientist.

Marcelo Kogan, the u. of Chile, It also carries out research in the Center for advanced chronic diseases (ACCDiS ) about metallic nanoparticles, as the Golden, It allows the ultrasensitive detection of biomarkers: molecules that appear in biological samples in early stages of a disease.

“After a decade of promoting national research, a critical mass has been generated, both academic and business, and projected, in the short term, the consolidation of the massification of the research stage, together with the marketing of the products generated”, raises the Dra. Comrade.

And it is precisely this area the hardest climb. Jose Mejia, 100-UC, observe a “great divide” between laboratory research and clinical application of nanomedicine.

Something in which the researcher at the Millennium Center interdisciplinary Institute for Neuroscience at the U coincides. Valparaiso, José Antonio Garate, limiting the potential of business is “very large, Since it would revitalize many drugs that, for some reason, they are not very efficient because they fail to penetrate the natural barriers of the body. Also in the field of asepsis there is huge potential”.

But in his opinion, missing the connection with the private world. “Sometimes we are left with major diseases, such as cancer or Alzheimer's, but simpler areas, as antibiotics and animal and plant health applications, will be ignored”.

In fact companies such as Cellter and Nanotec, created with the idea to commercialize products developed with nanomedicine, they have encountered various difficulties, from financing to clinical barriers. The general manager of Nanotec, Patricio Jarpa, comments, for example, which to transfer research to the market, to patients, they had to do the tests out of Chile by “complicated and backward that we are still in that aspect”.

Although the funding mechanisms have been generated, mainly through public funds as the Fondecyt, Fondef, or the lines handled by Corfo, along with its program start-up Chile, “to test animal research, the investment is brutal: laboratory-animal housing in order to maintain animals for experimentation with optimum quality. And in Chile there is only one such laboratory-animal housing”, Specifies Garcia- Huidobro.

In that scenario, the academician of the UNAB, Cristian Vilos, display which “hope” for the entrepreneurial impulse in this topic, It lies in that there are new Government policies that allocate more budget to scientific development and attain levels comparable with other countries of the Organization for cooperation and economic development (OECD).

Academy sets the tone in nano r & d

Multidisciplinary research centers of universities have taken the initiative in the development of applied research in nanotechnology, has the Director of the center of applied nanotechnology at the U. Wholesale, DRA. Maria comrade. This is how the country is already generating advances in nanomedicine, the specialist notably:

– Nanotransporte systems or nanocarriers for the controlled release of drugs: the focus has been set to generate treatments for diseases of high impact at the national level, as cancer, diabetes and neurodegenerative. Scientists from the U. Santiago developed an injectable pharmaceutical composition of single-dose extended-release of polymeric nanoparticles for treating or preventing chronic pain, in animals or humans. Another example is the development of nanotransporters to cross the blood-brain barrier and direct preferential biodistribution of drugs to the brain, led by students and academics from the Faculty of chemical and pharmaceutical sciences of the U. of Chile. In U. Technological Metropolitan gold nanoparticles that may be directed to fight tumors and Alzheimer's are being developed. In U. Wholesale, they are creating polymer conveyors for the efficient supply of drugs in neurodegenerative diseases and the improvement of production processes of drugs using the nanocatalisis; They also hope to develop prototypes of sensors for early detection of diseases.

– Substances or materials with antimicrobial properties: There are two initiatives that stand out. One is “Nanoderm”, supported by start-up Chile from CORFO, It consists of a patch based on collagen, supplemented with copper nanoparticles, It helps to inhibit the growth of microorganisms and infections in chronic wounds. The other is “Smiley Patch”, a patch of soluble nanofibres and nanoparticles of copper for the treatment of wounds, especially in people with skin of glass, It was developed by researchers from the U. border and has support of CODELCO-Lab business incubator. In both, in the center of applied nanotechnology at the U. Wholesale, they work in a system for the treatment of chronic wounds, next to the school of medical technology in that House of studies.

Applications of nanotechnology in medicine

Nanotechnology in medicine has relationship with the application of nanoparticles and the so-called “nanorobots” you will be able, in the future, repairs at the cellular level, says the Director of the center of applied nanotechnology at the U. Wholesale, DRA. Maria comrade. The specialist highlights, in this respect, some of its applications:

– Drug delivery or “drug delivery“: It consists of the use of nanoparticles to deliver drugs, heat or light to specific types of cells. For this, the particles are designed so that they can be attracted towards the affected cells, allowing direct treatment. This reduces damage to healthy cells in the body. Advances in this regard are wide, says Dr. Comrade.

– Therapy: nanomedicine is improving treatment techniques which are currently used and expected future progress. It has managed to develop polymer nanoesponjas associated with red blood cells that can absorb toxins and remove them from the bloodstream. Another research group is studying the application of bismuth nanoparticles to concentrate the radiation in the treatment of cancerous tumors. “It has been shown, In addition, nanoparticles derived from polyethylene glycol radical absorbing much more quickly than our body free, What can be used to reduce the damage caused by the release of radical free after brain damage”, refine.

– Diagnosis: mainly nanotechnology has helped develop chips for disease detection. “Nanoparticles have proven to be efficient for the early diagnosis of infectious diseases, While the gold nanorods have been able to be applied for the early detection of kidney damage. In addition, has advanced enough in the area of dye for Imaging tests, It will allow addressing them and reduce their toxicity”, holds.

– Anti-microbial techniques: It consists in the Elimination of bacterial load through the use of nanotechnology. Gold nanoparticles have been used to date, quantum dots in antibiotic-resistant infections, Nanoparticles of iron oxide to treat bacterial infections, Nanoparticles of silver for the treatment of chronic wounds with dressings and creams and nanocapsules for controlled release of antibiotics in burn.

Source: Diario Financiero _Health/panorama/lift off-la-research in nanomedicine-in-the-country/2018-08-27/154632.HTML