After decades of promise, recent breakthroughs suggest that nanomedicine is finally living up to its potential. And we need to make sure that hospitals are ready for the revolution.
Since the emergence of nanotechnology in the 1980s, researchers have been promising a revolution in everything from manufacturing to medicine. Excitement at the possibilities has grown steadily, and with it, government interest and funding. But in a nascent field, research can take decades to translate to real-world impact. Indeed, in a January 21st 2000 speech at the California Institute of Technology, Bill Clinton acknowledged the lag time, stating that some of the potential of nanotechnology can take more than 20 years to realise.
So, we’re just two years shy of the nanotechnology era envisioned by President Clinton’s – has nanotechnology begun to fulfil its promise? Well, it’s true that nanotechnology has been applied in a range of areas. However, these have generally come in the form of titanium dioxide, silver nanoparticles, and zinc oxide particles found in clothing, disinfectants, and sunscreens. Hardly the revolution that had dystopian futurists screaming impending apocalypse and excited journalists predicting utopian salvation.
But recent breakthroughs in nanomedicine suggest that Clinton’s 20 year forecast was actually quite prophetic.