Nanotechnology, the science of studying and manufacturing systems at the nanometer (1 nanometer = 1 billionth of a meter) level, has the potential to start a revolution in healthcare.
One of the most promising areas of nanotechnology for healthcare is that of prevention, which is stopping diseases and illnesses before they occur, even before they start to develop.
The majority of our healthcare system is based on a reactive approach, that is, to remedy health issues once they have surfaced. Although this approach is problem-solving, it leaves some marks on the individual. Some damage has occurred once a disease has developed and although we may be cured the body “suffers" a trauma due to the disease and the cure of the disease. In addition, many studies have established that prevention is more cost-efficient than reactive medicine.
Nanomedicine, understood as nanotechnology applications for medical problems, has the potential of preventing diseases and illnesses before they start instead of simply treating an ailment.
There are three main areas where nanotechnology is helping right now in prevention efforts. Nanotechnology applications in monitoring diseases or patients, antimicrobial coatings to prevent microorganisms to proliferate in foods and packages, and nanofilters to weed out, at the nano scale, chemical and microbial contaminants.