In an effort to slash high costs, provide customised treatment and improve diagnostic tests, doctors, engineers and researchers from several premiere institutions in the country have created a common platform to intensify research on nanotechnology - - a promising method for precise treatment.
Called the Indian Society of Nano Medicine (ISNM), the forum has eminent health care providers, engineers from the Indian Institute of Technology (IITs) and nanoscience researchers, among others, who have been researching on nanoscience for almost a decade.
A major health area that nanotechnology is going to cater to is to destroy cancerous cells without harming healthy cells - - unlike chemotherapy - - at a less cost.
Apart from providing targeted delivery, nano drugs will also help in lowering the cost as dosage will reduce from milligram to nanogram with less side effects.
"Nano particles can help deliver drugs directly to the diseased cells, reducing the damage which other methods like chemo do to healthy cells. With the ISNM, the members will contribute towards the use of nanosciences for better and efficient medical care for all, " Dr Amit Dinda, general secretary, ISNM, told IANS.
Dinda, professor of pathology at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) added that members will deliberate on how nanotechnology can be used for treating other medical conditions in the near future.
"The platform will give members an opportunity to closely interact with peers in the field of nanomedicine with particular emphasis on the interdisciplinary nature of the contacts between innovators and physicians focusing on clinical application, " Dinda noted.
According to the government statistics, Rs. 2, 000 crore has been allocated for research on the use of nanotechnology.
On the use of nanotechnology in diagnostics, Dinda said: "Till now, for various tests, samples of blood or other fluids are taken multiple times which is time consuming. This will not happen in nanomedicine. "
The sample will be taken only once and then the diagnosis can be done the same day. "Also, presence of several harmful microorganism can be detected with nanotechnology which is impossible through other tests. Thus, money and time can be saved in the process, " Dinda informed.
According to professor M. C. Misra, director of AIIMS, if the use of nanoscience in medicine is possible, then it will be a revolution for the Indian health sector as this is a targeted and accurate form of drug delivery.
"Till now, we have been giving drugs to patients intravenously which get spread to other parts of the body causing side effects. Nanomedicine prevents this. One of the biggest benefits cardiac patients with blockages in coronary artery disease will get is that nano drugs will easily dissolve the blockage and cure them, " Misra, who is one of India's top general surgeons, told IANS.
The ISNM will publish its own journal titled "The Indian Journal of Nanomedicine" which will give an insight into the national and international developments in the area of clinical nanomedicine.
The members will receive news on the development of projects, funding opportunities, national and international resources.
(Rupesh Dutta can be contacted at rupesh. d@ians. in)