By Gina "Nanogirl" Miller 2015 all rights reserved.

The current status of disease and death is staggering. We do know that in the documented world 56 million people die every year. Dissecting the statistics of disease provided by the World Health Organization is overwhelming to weed through.

There is a solution. Or there may be in the future. One day there could be a cure for all disease, and you may be able to live forever, in a healthy youthful state.

One day it may be possible that scientists will be able to create nanorobots using nanotechnology. Nanotechnology is the ability to see and move atoms around. Everything is made of atoms, the chair you are sitting in, your food, your body, the air we breathe, everything. Atoms are so small they cannot be seen by the human eye.

Atoms are on the nanoscale, that's a teeny, tiny size. There are 25,400,000 nanometers in an inch, a sheet of newspaper is 100,000 nanometers thick, human hair is about 80,000 nanometers in diameter. Atoms are the building blocks. Different atoms, arranged in different ways, make molecules that make the different things you see and experience.

In the human body atoms come together to make many things, for example water, fats, hair, bones, and DNA. DNA and other molecules build cells; sometimes cells malfunction and cause disease.

Where does nanotechnology fit in? That's a self realizing question, that's how, it fits in!

Think of it this way, if you were King Kong, could you grab one grain of sand easily? Your hands would be too big. That's how medicine is currently treating disease. Nanotechnology is on the same size and scale as disease. A nanorobot can grab a cell and repair it. This will allow us to cure diseases that have never been cured before.

Nanorobots could be released into the blood stream via pill or injection to find and repair damage and then break down and disintegrate.

Or nanorobots could remain in the body at all times, perpetually monitoring, identifying and repairing problems immediately, without any external treatment. Nanorobots would cure the aliment so early on that you would never even know you were going to get sick.

Chemotherapy releases toxic chemicals throughout the entire body rather than just the affected area, such as a tumor. This process destroys the cancer but also the immune system. Chemotherapy makes patients very sick, and there is risk of permanent damage or death from the treatment itself. There is also a risk of the cancer returning. A nanorobot could have radiation inside of it, locate the tumor, inject it and destroy it directly. Molecular nanorobots wouldn't leave one cancerous cell behind. That's one of the benefits of getting down to the molecular level. Doctors cannot see on the molecular level and could easily miss some cancer cells, which is often the case and the cancer returns. A nanotech gene therapy has successfully killed ovarian cancer in mice; if successful in human clinical trials it could save the lives of 15000 women a year.

But it doesn't stop with cancer. Every disease is made out of the same atoms that everything else is. All medical conditions are a result of atoms being out of place; a nanorobot could put them back where they belong, thus immediately alleviating the problem without the side effects that current day medication and treatments cause.

What else can be repaired in the human body? EVERYTHING. From cancer to the common cold. There is nothing that nanotechnology could not repair. The injuries or illnesses you have right now will have the capability to be repaired or cured by nanotechnology. Nanotechnology could eliminate diseases, disabilities, and illnesses such as diabetes, malaria, HIV, cardiovascular disease, damage from injuries and accidents, heal wounds, reduce child mortality, regenerate limbs and organs, eliminate inflammatory/infectious diseases, and so on and so forth.

Nanotechnology offers hope to people suffering from Alzheimer’s, Parkinson's, brain injuries, tumors and neurological disorders. Nanoconstructs could deliver neuroprotective molecules directly to the brain to recover or protect nerve cells from damage or degeneration. Nanotechnology has been emerging in this field in the form of nanoengineered scaffolds that could one day result in a tool for rewiring the intricate neuronal network.

Research by Dr. Samuel I. Stupp designed molecules using nanomaterials and injected them into mice who were paralyzed due to spinal cord injury. After 6 weeks the mice regained the ability to walk. Research like this could one day evolve into real cures for people.

65 billion dollars is wasted every year due to low bioavailability. Meaning that the drug or treatment used is not absorbed into or accessed by the body properly due to a multitude of reasons. For example drug interactions, different molecular arrangements and manufacturing processes by different brands. Drugs with more moisture may form lumps in the stomach which decreases absorption, and a highly compressed pill will slow absorption. Different level changes in the body at any given time may cause drug toxicity. Metabolism, age, activity, stress, previous surgery and syndromes are also factors. These are huge challenges that can be alleviated by using nanotechnology to target the specific areas.

Nanorobots can take their cues from mother nature; she is the first nanotechnologist. She is an expert at creating molecular machines. Geneticists have been taking advantage of viruses for use in gene therapy for some time.

They modify a virus by removing the viral gene so it doesn't cause disease. They replace it with healthy genes to transport to the faulty cell and cure diseases.

This strategy of hacking viruses could be exploited by nanotech. Viruses are biological molecular machines that could be modified into becoming nanorobots or they could become transportation for a nanorobot.

Another means is a nanorobot could attach itself to a traveling white blood cell and ride shotgun to assist in the tissue repair of injured tissue. Nanotechnology could even be involved in tissue engineering, creating scaffolds for artificial organs and implants. Tissue from your own body could be used to make new tissue, which assures that your body doesn't reject it.

The surgeries of today are painful, costly, can leave scars and can even be life threatening. Repairing nanorobots would eliminate the need for surgeries, incisions, side effects and recovery time.

According to the American Academy of Periodontology there are links to poor dental health and stroke, heart disease, respiratory disease, osteoporosis, some cancers and diabetes. Nanorobots as nanodentistry could repair damage without large needles or drills. Nanorobots could also constantly and invisibly maintain and clean your teeth to avoid any dental problems.

Hygiene is important for good health; your skin and hair could be cleaned by nanorobots eliminating the need for showers. Spider bites and ticks carrying lyme disease would be detected by nanorobots, blocking penetration. Other skin problems such as eczema would be repaired by dermal nanorobots.

Is aging a disease? Could aging be cured? Yes. Since nanorobots would be able to repair single cells on the molecular level they would be able to repair damages created by aging. It's all the same to a nanorobot. Nanotechnology could repair damaged cells. Dead cells are the primary reason for aging and death; nanorobots could replace senescent (old) cells with non-senescent cells, or reprogram cells so they do not senescensce, which would keep the body from aging.

Not only would the inside of your body never get sick or age, but neither will the outside. Your skin will be young, elastic, dewy and wrinkle-free. Your hair will be thick, without gray, and intact. Your hearing, your eyesight and memory will be in perfect shape. You wouldn't get arthritis, turkey neck, or saggy parts. You could go out dancing when you are 93 and not worry about sore feet, low energy or suffering any consequences. Unless you party too hard, but that's on you, not the nano.

So if you never get sick and never get old could you live forever? Yes. nanorobots could be programmed to rebuild older cells into younger copies on a regular basis thereby the human body could become immortal. You could live a disease-free youthful life, forever.

Of course immortality isn't for everyone and everyone should have the right to decide what they want or don't want for their own body. Death will be a choice rather than a requirement.

There are well funded countries that have access to researchers and high tech equipment that would love to figure out how to create the nanotechnology that will repair bodies and end disease. In the US despite having a lot of financial resources it's not always easy to get funding. If you are at a university, you need to write a grant, go through a lot of red tape, and there are a lot more near-term projects that seem to get prioritized when it comes to funding. For companies looking for investors, unfortunately not all investors can foresee the amazing future that nano will have because they are used to funding things they can see. For example a company that makes desks seeking an investor can show the investor the money they need for each piece of wood, bolt, and the quantity of desks that will be manufactured within a specific time frame. Nanotechnology is in development and isn't readily available like a piece of wood, the piece of wood has to be built. And the individual processes of each emerging development will have their own variables.

Once the recipe has been figured out and formulated, the investment we have made will then be very inexpensive and easy to reproduce. Third world countries would have easy access to nanomedicine. Mother nature puts atoms together all the time and it doesn't cost her anything. The raw materials for making nanorobots would be essentially cost-free because they will be made mostly of carbon.

Because nanotechnology would be created on the very small atomic level, traveling to provide treatment would not require large equipment. The size and portability would make treatment easily accessible across the world.

The environment and living conditions also impact health. Since nanotechnology is on the atomic level and atoms are everywhere, it can be beneficial to the world all around us, as well as our bodies.

Nanotechnology could enrich depleted soil in places like Africa, which is currently facing a food crisis. Vitamins, nutrients and minerals could be delivered to rebuild soil to a fertile state and thus have the ability to grow food. Hunger could one day be a solvable problem. Nanotechnology would make it possible to provide meat and animal products inexpensively without killing animals.

E.coli and other pathogens could be detected in soil and eliminated so that food is not harmful.

Currently nanomaterials are in development to release fertilizers for plants and nutrients for livestock, nano sensors for monitoring the health of crops and farm animals, and magnetic nanoparticles to remove soil contaminants.

According to 750 million people around the world lack access to safe water; approximately one in nine people. 840,000 people die each year from water-related disease. A portable non-chemical nano-filtration water purification device has been developed by Micheal Pritchard. It creates safe and sterile water out of dirty water and would make the cost of water per household an estimated 3 dollars a year. His company has provided clean water to countries who have gone through natural disasters, such as Haiti and the Philippines. In the future nanotechnology particles could destroy bacteria that often cause fatal disease.

Pollution in general, global warming, nuclear waste, oil spills, smog, and acid rain, could be remedied and prevented by nanotechnological advances.

Large quantities of nanorobots could come together to remove pollutant atoms from the atmosphere, earth and water. These groups of nanorobots could swim in contaminated waters and be released into the polluted atmosphere to destroy or remove contaminating molecules. Nanorobots could pull apart the bad molecules and reassemble the atoms into good molecules for other positive purposes.

As a first indicator of the possibility, Brian Mercer created a new pollution control technology using nanofibres that greatly reduce industrial pollution by trapping and removing the pollutants.

Currently nanotech is being used to reduce emissions from car fuels.

Since nanotechnology builds atom by atom; the process is pollution free. Nanotechnology will not be manufactured in the way we use manufacturing plants today. There will be no chemical by product, no emission, hazardous waste and no pollution.

In 1959 Richard Feynman, one of the world's leading theoretical physicists, gave a talk at Cal Tech called "There's Plenty of Room at the bottom".

He proposed manipulating on the atomic scale; “Unfortunately, the present microscope sees at a scale which is just a bit too crude. Make the microscope one hundred times more powerful, and many problems of biology would be made very much easier.”

Feynman also talked about the ability to “swallow the surgeon”. Of course we wouldn't want to literally swallow a person, but it is a representation of using nanotechnology to repair the medical needs of the body.

Since the time of Richard Feynman's talk scientists have developed new advanced microscopes, the scanning tunneling microscope (STM) which for the first time enabled us to see atoms, and the atomic force microscope (AFM) which allows us to move and lift atoms.

These tools are our early foyer into the world of nanotechnology and may one day allow us to push atoms together to build nanorobots that can cure disease.

Nanotechnology has been exploding and has developed a lot of “first generation” medical applications. Some are commercially available and are already helping patients, while some are in the research lab or clinical trials. A few include:

Nanoelectronics to diagnose cancer, which could lead to diagnosing other diseases very inexpensively in a matter of minutes at your local pharmacy

Blood purification to replace dialysis in removing toxins

Bone Replacement

Nanoparticles for heart repair

Artificial muscles

Targeted drug delivery

Hormone Therapy


Cancer drugs

And many, many, many, more.

There are also many astounding things that are being done outside of the medical sphere.

The “second generation” of nanotechnology applications are on the horizon. Nanotechnology is changing the vision of medicine and health. Nanotechnology can create a world where children need not suffer and hunger, disease and pain are things of the past. We will be able to spend more time with the ones we love. Nanotechnology is the new frontier and a bright future lies ahead.

As with many new technologies, people may initially have their hesitations, but the more the technology is understood and lives are saved the more accepted it will become. Today when we are ill we walk into a hospital and receive high tech testing and treatments that years ago were not available. We have gradually introduced new technology into our world. Nanotechnology could one day become the norm.

The societies of long ago would have been shocked to learn that some of us are walking around with artificial hearts, legs, cochlear implants that restore hearing, have had test tube babies and are using vaccines to eliminate diseases that were epidemics at the time. The life expectancy in general was a lot shorter the further you go back in time. According to Wikipedia as recently as Early Modern Britain ages ranged from 25 to 40 and the Early 20th century had an average of 31. In 2010 the world average was 67.2, obviously quite a dramatic difference. New medicine, better treatment and better technology to help us expand our knowledge, such as genetic sequencing, are all factors in saving and extending lifespans.

We have come a long way and we have embraced the knowledge and technological advancements that have helped us survive. We will continue to move forward in the quest for knowledge for the betterment of humanity and the earth.

Copyright Gina Miller