And it comes just in time for Big Pharma, facing an impending “patent apocalypse” in pharmaceuticals, when generics are going to take away some of their profits. Yes, I know, find me a nano-sized violin. Anyway, they’re looking at delivery methods as ways to extend patents.
But nanotech-enabled drug delivery is not just about improving profits for pharma. It represents the opening of a new frontier in disease treatment — breaking through the blood-brain barrier. Scientists have a love-hate relationship with this amazing mechanism. The barrier keeps viruses away from the brain while letting oxygen and other beneficial nutrients through. But to scientists trying to figure out treatments and cures for neurological diseases like Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s, that blood-brain barrier is a big pain, locking out therapeutic genes and molecules. So, the story of drug delivery development these days seems to be increasingly about breaking through that final frontier.
So, yes, something funny happened along the way to “nanobots” in the bloodstream. Nanotech started to get real. And it’s been doing it without hype. That’s because nanotechnology is not any one technology at all. It’s an enabling technology. Many do not want to be associated with the hype of a decade ago, so they are not calling it nanotech at all.
This was probably the intent all along. Nanotech is simply the next generation of many different types of disciplines and technologies. I’m continuing to follow it with fascination. Watch this space for more.