1. Delaney, Connie PhD, RN, FAAN, FACMI

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Do you know what "nanotechnology" is? Nanoparticulate? Nanoassemblers? Nanoscale robots? Nanomaterials? "Intelligent" nanobots? Nanocomponents? Nanoarrays? Multiplexed nanoparticle assays? Are you familiar with the types of nanotechnology devices, diagnostics, and therapeutics that are available? Under development? Do you know what companies are developing these products? Is nursing engaged? Are you engaged? Should nursing informatics establish strategic initiatives related to nanotechnology?


The Theta report entitled "Nanotechnology: Emerging Healthcare Applications and Markets" ( is an excellent resource for understanding nanotechnology state-of-the-science and opportunities. This report defines "nanotechnology" as "the fabrication of structures smaller than 100 nm (or 300 400 atoms in diameter)." Yes, this means that this technology deals with structures about the size of the diameter of a single strand of hair, or biologic molecules. Thus, nanoscale materials may be capable of rapid absorption by the body, improved integration into tissue structures when used in orthopedics, and even the ability to interface with electronics to create novel biosensors. Nanotechnology has been referred to as the "manufacturing technology of the 21st century." Wondering about other nanotechnology terms and meanings? Log on to


Predictions indicate that nanotechnology will significantly improve treatment of a variety of diseases over the next 5 to 10 years. Although only a few nanotechnologyenabled products have been introduced in the healthcare sector, nanostructures capable of interacting with biological components at the molecular scale are the focus of much commercial and academic research and development. The Theta Reports estimate that in 5 years, the world market for medical/health nanotechnology will surpass $3 billion.


The potential impact of nanotechnology is tremendous. According to Dr Joseph Mercola (, "nanotechnology reaches far beyond medical/health applications; nanotechnology could potentially touch just about every aspect of today's society. Scientists are currently exploring how to use nanotechnology to create wet-suit-like gear for soldiers that would be bulletproof, keep out chemical weapons, and even increase jumping ability, and there are already stain-resistant pants on the market that were created using nanotechnology." Nanotechnologies related to cancer, diabetes, infectious diseases, and organ transplant care are paramount. For example, nanotechnology can support the detection of tumors, plaque, genetic defects, and other disease states at much earlier stages and with lower, safer concentrations of contrast agents. Nanomaterials are already active ingredients of burn and wound dressings. In the long term, advances in nanotechnology are expected to lead to the introduction of new, improved medical supply and device coatings. Want to explore more health-related applications/innovations? Examine NanoInk, Angstrom Medica, Nanospectra Biosciences, SkyePharma, Advion BioSciences, BioForce Nanosciences, Nanosys, and Invitrogen. Want to learn more about nanotechnology trends? Check out "Nanotechnology in Health Care," a new study from The Freedonia Group, Inc (


What are the implications for nursing informatics? Are we prepared in practice? Are informatics competencies addressing nanotechnology integrated in our curricula? Does our NI research agenda incorporate the implications of nanotechnology in knowledge discovery? The import of these technologies is awe-inspiring-NI is a cohesive, coordinated group of experts. How and what are our next steps to support the science and discipline of nursing, and healthcare for the people to whom we provide service?