Nanomedicine, Volume IIA: Biocompatibility

© 2003 Robert A. Freitas Jr. All Rights Reserved.

Robert A. Freitas Jr., Nanomedicine, Volume IIA: Biocompatibility, Landes Bioscience, Georgetown, TX, 2003


15.6.3 Cellular Intrusiveness

The issue of cellular intrusiveness arises whenever microscopic quantities of foreign materials or medical nanorobots [29] must be injected into the intracellular spaces, comprising cytosol and nucleus. There are two aspects: First, how much new foreign material can be added to a cell? Second, how much of a cell’s existing fluidic volume can be replaced with foreign material with no change in total cell volume, consistent with continuing cellular viability?

Of course, cell “viability” should be rigorously addressed from the standpoint of structural integrity, metabolism, reproduction, cytoskeletal activity, motility, secretory activity, and so forth – since cells may survive intrusion while losing their secretory activity or their ability to divide. Since direct experiments with nanorobots and living cells cannot yet be undertaken, we can only crudely estimate the maximum volume of foreign material that the intracellular compartment can safely accommodate by examining analogous instances of cellular intrusion.


Last updated on 30 April 2004