How Nanomedicine is Going Green and Fighting Superbugs – CareDash News

Nanomaterials are materials with one dimension less than 100 nanometers. A nanometer is one-billionth of a meter. Professor Thomas Webster directs the Nanomedicine Laboratory at Northeastern University. His lab designs, synthesizes, and evaluates nanomaterials for various medical implant applications. CareDash CEO and Managing Editor Ted Chan interviewed Dr. Webster about nanotech innovation.

We focus on the synthesis, design, and evaluation of nanomaterials (that is, tubes, particles, etc. with dimensions usually less than 100 nm) in medicine. Specifically, we were the first group to demonstrate increased tissue growth (such as bone, cartilage, vascular, bladder, nervous system, etc.) on nanomaterials compared to conventional implants. We were also the first group to report decreased infection on nanomaterials compared to conventional implants, even without the use of drugs. We have also been pioneering the use of implantable nanosensors to detect disease, communicate such information to a handheld device, and kill the disease on-demand.

As just one example, we have a growing alarming number of antibiotic-resistant infections that are crippling our healthcare system. In fact, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control has predicted that more people will die from antibiotic-resistant infections than all cancers combined by 2050. We created this problem, and we can solve it. So, in simple terms, we are killing bacteria using nanoparticles, but not antibiotics. We can even kill antibiotic-resistant bacteria with nanoparticles, whereas antibiotics fail. Decreasing infection from any bacteria, especially antibiotic-resistant bacteria, will significantly increase health.

In addition to those medical advances mentioned above (implantable sensors, nanoparticles that can kill antibiotic-resistant bacteria, nanomaterials to increase tissue growth, etc.), I am particularly excited about green nanomedicine.

Green nanomedicine is where we can use natural materials to create medical devices and nanoparticles. This is important since a significant portion of the "plastic island" in the Pacific Ocean is composed of plastics from the medical community, yet very few people are studying green biomaterials or green nanomedicine. We are here at Northeastern Nanomedicine Laboratory. We have been creating green medical devices and green nanoparticles, which is saving our environment and are more effective in their function than the respective conventional materials.

Persistence. We have started over 13 companies with over 23 FDA approved implants. Research is hard enough, but getting the funding to commercialize your products is even harder. I have learned throughout my career in so many ways never to give up, and if you believe in technology, persist until it is saving human lives.

Dr. Webster is a Keynote Speaker at the 2ndBiomedical Engineering and Instrumentation Summit(BEIS 2020), a conference organized to promote awareness and enhance research in biomedical engineering. BEIS 2020 will be held on July 20-22, 2020, in Boston, MA.

Disclosure: CareDash is a media partner of the BEIS Summit at which Dr. Webster is a keynote speaker in 2020. Dr. Webster and CareDash have no financial affiliation.

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How Nanomedicine is Going Green and Fighting Superbugs - CareDash News

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