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Nano Medicine - Privacy and Informed Consent

Nano Medicine - Privacy and Informed Consent

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Published by ogangurel
Hollywood has long-been fascinated with the concepts underlying nanomedicine. In the 1966 film Fantastic Voyage, a team of scientists shrink a submarine and its crew and place it into the bloodstream of a dying man. More recently Denzel Washington, in the Manchurian Candidate, is implanted with a tiny microchip that supplants his own memory. While the gradual convergence of biology, chemistry, physics, engineering and material science has not resulted in miniaturized physicians or memory transplants, it has brought us intra- and extra-cellular nanodevices, and some can cross the blood-brain barrier.
Putting nanotechnology to use in the treatment, monitoring and control of biological systems has collectively been deemed "nanomedicine" by the National Institutes of Health. Nanomedicine may be defined as the monitoring, repair, construction and control of human biological systems at the molecular level, using engineered nanodevices and nanostructures. While nanostructured materials and bioengineered enzymes will catapult medicine into a new age, the full promise of nanomedicine won’t be realized until the development of programmable, precisely controlled medical nanomachines.
Once available, programmable and controllable nanoscale robots will allow medical doctors to execute curative and reconstructive procedures in the human body at the cellular and molecular levels. Early nanomedical physicians will still modulate the body's natural healing powers and homeostatic mechanisms, but the ability of physicians ultimately to control biological events at the cellular level will result in indefinite extension of human health and a vast expansion of human abilities.
Because nanotechnology could introduce whole new classes of materials and products, revolutionizing the biotechnology industry, it will present an array of novel challenges to regulatory agencies. Perhaps more than that, by its nature and design nanomedicine threatens to push the envelope of our society's privacy expectations. A glimpse into the future the privacy concerns nanomedicine will likely stir up can be gleamed from the current legal issues arising from the use of nanotechnology in the automobile industry. Additionally, informed consent will also likely prove problematic.
This paper examines the current status and future trends in nanomedicine specifically with respect to implantable sensors and surveillance mechanisms, as well as diagnostic tools. The paper goes on to examine recent court decisions and attempts by state legislative bodies to anticipate future privacy and informed consent issues with respect to nano-sized information gathering and dissemination devices primarily used in the auto industry. Ultimately, the authors conclude that nanotechnological advancements warrant legislative oversight when medically applied.
Hollywood has long-been fascinated with the concepts underlying nanomedicine. In the 1966 film Fantastic Voyage, a team of scientists shrink a submarine and its crew and place it into the bloodstream of a dying man. More recently Denzel Washington, in the Manchurian Candidate, is implanted with a tiny microchip that supplants his own memory. While the gradual convergence of biology, chemistry, physics, engineering and material science has not resulted in miniaturized physicians or memory transplants, it has brought us intra- and extra-cellular nanodevices, and some can cross the blood-brain barrier.
Putting nanotechnology to use in the treatment, monitoring and control of biological systems has collectively been deemed "nanomedicine" by the National Institutes of Health. Nanomedicine may be defined as the monitoring, repair, construction and control of human biological systems at the molecular level, using engineered nanodevices and nanostructures. While nanostructured materials and bioengineered enzymes will catapult medicine into a new age, the full promise of nanomedicine won’t be realized until the development of programmable, precisely controlled medical nanomachines.
Once available, programmable and controllable nanoscale robots will allow medical doctors to execute curative and reconstructive procedures in the human body at the cellular and molecular levels. Early nanomedical physicians will still modulate the body's natural healing powers and homeostatic mechanisms, but the ability of physicians ultimately to control biological events at the cellular level will result in indefinite extension of human health and a vast expansion of human abilities.
Because nanotechnology could introduce whole new classes of materials and products, revolutionizing the biotechnology industry, it will present an array of novel challenges to regulatory agencies. Perhaps more than that, by its nature and design nanomedicine threatens to push the envelope of our society's privacy expectations. A glimpse into the future the privacy concerns nanomedicine will likely stir up can be gleamed from the current legal issues arising from the use of nanotechnology in the automobile industry. Additionally, informed consent will also likely prove problematic.
This paper examines the current status and future trends in nanomedicine specifically with respect to implantable sensors and surveillance mechanisms, as well as diagnostic tools. The paper goes on to examine recent court decisions and attempts by state legislative bodies to anticipate future privacy and informed consent issues with respect to nano-sized information gathering and dissemination devices primarily used in the auto industry. Ultimately, the authors conclude that nanotechnological advancements warrant legislative oversight when medically applied.

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Categories:Types, Research, Science
Published by: ogangurel on May 07, 2009
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

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06/14/2009

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