Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Regeneration, the Nano Way

Here's the scenario: It's war and a soldier is shot. Not only is his wound becoming infected, but he's suffering from internal organ damage.
Right now the chance of survival would be iffy and even if he lived, there'd be scarring and some lasting effect. But, think about in the future when doctors could just apply nanotechnology. It would repair the damaged organ, kill the infection, and even assist in healing the open wound by growing back new skin.
That's crazy, right? I mean, you can't just fix what's broken. You can maybe stitch it together, but it'll never be what it was, right?
Wrong.
Right now nano-focused science is now moving small solutions into the big picture of life. Nanoscale technology and science is being developed in the areas of military, space, consumerism, and healthcare.

In fact there's research going on for nanotechnology gel that promotes nerve cell regrowth. Reading this, my fictional brain went on overdrive, thinking about the direction this all would take. Imagine nanotechnology that would promote the regrowth of limbs, organs, and bone.
What do we think about when some says nanotechnology? Well, I don't know about you but I think of the evil robot from Terminator 2. They used nanoscale metal and circuits that molded into any shape. In a sense, that's exactly what nanotechnology is. nano is a Greek word that means one billionth the size of something. So, a nanometer is one billionth of a meter. The tech part would be a combination of the individual scale objects combining together for a common, larger purpose.

But, you really have to envision beyond metal and circuits and beyond the visually large object. Most likely, you will never see any nano size tech with your naked eye. It'll always be on a teeny little thing.

This is especially true in the realm of healthcare. Most of the nano research direction in healthcare involves organic nano material. Nano particles. If successful, they will carry drugs, enzymes, and cell substances to get to work on an infected/impacted area. I can see them ultimately containing accelerant substances that will speed up the recovery and repair work from months, to only days. Maybe even hours, depending on the severity of the problem.

I was so excited about this prospect that I worked the science into my new SFR release, Duty and Devotion. Nano health really lent itself well to the military setting. I made sure to add limits because, well, that's life. (I mean come on the future's still gotta hold challenges to solve.) So, in my future nano world organs, bone and skin can be regenerated from nanotechnology but only if some part of the original substance remained.

Older sister Nettie, one of the main characters in Duty and Devotion ended up in a serious war accident and was rushed to the medical ward to be fixed. The scene below is her waking up and hearing from the doctor what they were able to fix...and what they weren't.

EXCERPT:

The nurse brought a tray of food in. At least, she said the goopy gelatin like substance was food. All three were dubious about the truth of that as they poked at it.

"Out, out," the nurse chided them, pushing and prodding both Kaitlin and Oliver out the door. She pointed at Nettie and then at the food. "Eat it."

Nettie continued to poke at the pile, relieved when the physician strolled in, James behind him with his clipboard. He winked at her and leaned against the far wall.

"Good morning. How are you feeling?" the physician asked.

"Felt like I just had a hot flash. I tell ya, I'm falling apart." Nettie pushed the rolling tray aside. He smiled and tapped the electronic chart. "Okay. What's the damage and what were you able to fix?"

The physician's smile wavered. He took a seat on a tall rolling chair beside her. "Well, that's the question of the hour isn't it? I'm proud to say we were able to save most of your internal organs, re-growing replacement tissue for those partially damaged. And as you can see, we were able to reattach your leg with nano nerve and skin engineering."

"But... " She urged him on.

"But, your ovaries and fallopian tubes were too damaged to fix. It's a very sensitive area and there was nothing left to rejuvenate."

Nettie felt stunned and her mind went blank. "What? What does that mean?"

*****

If you want to learn more about nano tech, here's some links for you to start:

http://www.discovernano.northwestern.edu/affect/applications_content/medicine/regeneration
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1405623/

If you want to learn more about me, stop by my blog: Adventures of a Sci-Fi Writer

Duty and Devotion is available at Desert Breeze, All Romance Books, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Sony, Kobo, and the Apple iBookstore.

3 comments:

Ciara Gold said...

Thanks so much for being a guest blogger today. I thoroughly enjoyed learning more about nano technology.

TKToppin said...

Very interesting! Can't wait to read this book...it's sitting patiently in the TBR queue.

Ciara Gold said...

Hey TK, thanks for stopping by. It's on my TBR list, too. So many books, so little time. Argggg.