Nanotechnology may be advancing at a rapid rate but these are still early days and much still needs to be done as the medical world tries to keep pace with the dramtic pace of development.
That is the message from Dr Gavin Jell, Lecturer in Nanotechnology & Regenerative Medicine at University College London, who runs an MSc course on the technology’s applications in medicine. Dr Jell, who works at the UCL Centre for Nanotechnology & Regenerative Medicine in the Division of Surgery and Interventional Science, believes that the excitement about the potential of nanotechnology needs to be combined with robust cross-disciplinary evaluation of safety.
He said: “There are some fantastic technologies being developed in nanotechnology, particularly in the field of targeted drug delivery, diagnosis and even theranostics, but we should remember that this is still a fledgling technology. “There is often a balance between the complexity of the drug delivery system and translational reality. The simpler the technology the higher the commercial potential. The more complicated the technology (e.g. multi-modality particles for imaging, diagnosis and treatment) the greater the translation cost and the regulatory challenges.
“We think its important to expose our students (taught and research) to the commercial and clinical realities of the use of nanotechnology in medicine by having a close relationship with both clinicians and the emerging businesses exploiting these technologies. This will hopefully allow the development of clinically and commercially relevant research – that will deliver real improvements to patient care.