Nanomedicine, Volume I: Basic Capabilities

© 1999 Robert A. Freitas Jr. All Rights Reserved.

Robert A. Freitas Jr., Nanomedicine, Volume I: Basic Capabilities, Landes Bioscience, Georgetown, TX, 1999


4.8 Cellular Bioscanning

The goal of cellular bioscanning is the noninvasive and non-destructive in vivo examination of interior biological structures. One of the most common nanomedical sensor tasks is the scanning of cellular and subcellular structures. Such tasks may include localization and examination of cytoplasmic and nuclear membranes, as well as the identification and diagnostic measurement of cellular contents including organelles and other natural molecular devices, cytoskeletal structures, biochemical composition and the kinetics of the cytoplasm.

The precision and speed of medical nanodevices is so great that they can provide a surfeit of detailed diagnostic information well beyond that which is normally needed in classical medicine for a complete analysis of somatic status. Except in the most subtle cases a malfunction in any one component of the cellular machinery (Section 8.5) normally provokes a cascade of pathological observables in many other subsystems. Detection of any one of these cascade observables, if sufficiently unique and well-defined, may provide adequate diagnostic information (see Chapter 18) to plan a proper reparative procedure.

DNA is one of the few cellular components that is regularly inspected and repaired. Most homeostatic systems adopt a more simple philosophy of periodic replacement of components regardless of functionality. Nanomedicine allows the philosophy of inspection and repair to be extended to all cellular components (Chapters 13 and 21). The following discussion briefly describes a few of the sensory techniques that may be useful in achieving this objective.


Last updated on 17 February 2003