Unlike the "robots" we usually think of, nanorobots are not some kind of metal armor with batteries, chips and other electronic devices. Today, even the most sophisticated machining techniques cannot create traditional robots that swim inside the body. Nanorobots synthesize and prepare molecules and micro-nano materials with special structures and functions through physical and chemical methods. In the field of artificial intelligence, the question at the forefront is: Will injectable disease-fighting nanorobots become a reality?
Nanorobots, affecting human health and longevity at the molecular level
Nanorobots are the development category of "Molecular Nanotechnology (MNT)". They are (programmable) molecular robots developed by applying biological principles at the nanoscale with the help of scanning tunneling microscopes. Redesign with gene regulatory networks. 1 nanometer is equal to 10-9 meters, which is approximately equal to the length of 10 argon atoms juxtaposed in a straight line, and the average diameter of a molecule is 10-10 meters. Nanorobots also belong to the research scope of molecular biology (nanobiology).
At present, nanorobots are still in the experimental stage, and the size is between a few millimeters - a few microns, and it is certain that the nanorobots of the future will bring about a medical revolution
We can understand nanorobots in this way. Each cell of an organism is an example of the application of nanotechnology. Cells not only perform energy metabolism, but also assemble and activate various proteins and enzymes according to the information stored in DNA. The production technology of nanorobots can completely learn from biological cells. Taking molecules as the research object, with the goal of manipulating and changing molecular structures.
The application of nanorobots is envisaged. In the next 25 years, nanotechnology scientists expect to create real, working nanorobots, enabling nanotechnology robots to cruise back and forth in human blood, automatically find harmful substances deposited on the walls of blood vessels, and then remove them, which may exist in the blood. Millions of nanorobots, which have tiny "fingers" made of carbon nanotubes, can delicately handle a variety of molecules.
Nanorobots can replace, repair, and insert genes, and the treatment of genetic diseases is no longer an illusion; it can complete the cutting operation of cell chromosomes; it can perform biochemical testing, pathological and physiological testing experiments at the DNA or molecular level; In the human body to unclog the blood vessels of the patient. In the sci-fi film "Amazing Flight", scientists inject nanorobots into the body and directly observe the organization and operation of various organs of the human body.
Scientists believe that nanorobots have unlimited potential: walking in the human body, can treat atherosclerosis, help patients with blood clotting, remove blood clots, clean wounds, exterminate parasites, treat gout and kidney stones, fight cancer, artificial insemination and activate cells Energy, etc., to maintain health and prolong life.
2. Will we "disconnect" in our bodies
Will nanorobots "disconnect" in our bodies, causing side effects or irritating harm to the human body? Currently, researchers tend to build nanorobots from materials inside the body, which can be broken down by the body and may not have much negative effects.
There are few research data on the biological effects and toxicity of nanomaterials. Preliminary experimental evidence suggests that even with the same chemical composition, its microparticles and nanoparticles may have different biological effects. These biological effects may be beneficial or harmful, and a large number of unknown issues still need to be studied. For example, researchers found that after nanoparticles enter the human body, the protein in the human body will automatically wrap them up, so it will not be regarded as a foreign body by the body, and has a stealth effect.
3. The "camouflage" strategy
For more difficult delivery sites, nanorobots have also shown positive potential in early breakthroughs. The brain is the hardest place for nanobots to reach because they need to cross the blood-brain barrier—a very selective biological defense system that allows only some nutrients and certain molecules through, keeping pathogens out. Gliomas are known as "brain killers" and are one of the most difficult tumors to treat in neurosurgery. Due to the special location of this tumor, it is difficult to perform complete surgical resection, and the residual tumor cells become the source of future recurrence.
In 2020, after 8 years of hard work, the team of Professor He Qiang of Harbin Institute of Technology designed a delivery strategy. They packed the anticancer drug into a magnetic nanogel, which was "camouflaged" with a bacterial membrane, hidden in a type of immune cell called a "neutrophil." Through the action of external magnetic and chemical fields, the nanorobots cross the blood-brain barrier to achieve active targeted drug delivery at the site of glioma. The delivery efficiency of ordinary nanocarriers is about 0.7%. This new method improves the delivery efficiency of antitumor drugs to about 14%. The article was published in "Science Robot", which is a relatively important research progress in the industry.
4. It is still in the research and development stage
At present, there have been cases of using micro-nano robots in the field of diagnosis and treatment of major diseases at home and abroad, such as photothermal treatment of tumors using photothermal effect micro-nano robots, magnetic resonance imaging using deposited iron oxide magnetically driven micro-nano robots, using bubbles and Ultrasound-driven micro-nano robots for tumor cell separation and detection, etc.
Nowadays, in the field of treatment of most diseases, there are still dilemmas such as the difficulty in finding out the pathogenesis and the complex environment of the diseased tissue. In 2021, the global micro-nano market in life sciences will be worth about US$19.8 billion, and it is expected to grow to US$38.6 billion by 2025. The industry has broad prospects for development.
The upstream of the micro-nano robot industry chain is the suppliers of proteins, viruses, bacteria, DNA joints, nanomaterials, TNC, polymers and other organic and inorganic materials, as well as structural parts, connectors, chemical sensors, controllers and other components suppliers; the midstream is micro-nano Robot manufacturer; downstream is the application field, mainly including medical, military, biology, environmental protection, industry and other fields.
At present, micro-nano robots are still in the research and development stage, and micro-nano robots that enter the human body through the blood system have not yet come to the market. At present, the commercialized micro-nano robots in China are mainly magnetically controlled capsule gastroscope robots, and the products have been exported to many countries around the world. At this stage, domestic micro-nano technology companies mainly include German Nanotechnology, Zhongke Natai, Gongna Biotechnology, and Dongna Biotechnology. In the future, under the background of the continuous development of the domestic micro-nano robot industry, enterprises with strong R&D strength and high technical level will occupy an advantageous position in the market competition.
In recent years, under the background of increasing morbidity and mortality of major diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disease, the research and development of cancer treatment technology and drugs has become a key development direction in the medical field. With its advantageous functions, micro-nano robots have become the mainstream direction of using science and technology to develop cancer treatment. In the future, under the background of the continuous development of science and technology and the increasing demand for cancer treatment, the development of the micro-nano robot industry has broad prospects. In the future, local enterprises need to continue to increase their research and development efforts to gain a first-mover advantage in the field of micro-nano robots.