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Science & Technology


  • 26 Aug 2021
  • 3 min read

Why in News

Recently, a group of scientists has found a way to tackle issues pertaining to root canal treatments (dental procedures) using nanosized robots.

  • Root canal treatment is designed to eliminate bacteria from the infected root canal, prevent reinfection of the tooth and save the natural tooth.

Key Points

  • About the Research:
    • A significant percentage of root canal treatments fail, because the procedure leaves out some bacteria that are located deep within the dentinal tubules.
    • In the research the scientist has found a way to tackle this using nanosized robots that will travel through the tubules and target the bacteria.
    • Under this method, spiral silica nanobots with a bit of iron embedded in them are injected in the central canal of the tooth. Then a rotating magnetic field is applied. This causes the nanorobot to move - like screws move into a wall.
    • Once the bacterial colony is reached, the nanorobot can deploy various antibacterial strategies one of which is localised heating.
  • Nanorobots:
    • Nanorobotics describes the technology of producing machines or robots at the nanoscale.
      • 'Nanobot' is an informal term to refer to engineered nano machines.
    • Nanobots are robots that carry out a very specific function and are ~50–100 nm wide.
    • They can be used very effectively for drug delivery.
      • Normally, drugs work through the entire body before they reach the disease-affected area.
      • Using nanotechnology, the drug can be targeted to a precise location which would make the drug much more effective and reduce the chances of possible side effects.
  • Uses of Nanotechnology in Health Care:
    • Nanotech detectors for heart attack.
    • Nanocarriers for eye surgery, chemotherapy etc.
    • Diabetic pads for regulating blood sugar levels.
    • Nanosponges are polymer nanoparticles coated with a red blood cell membrane, and can be used for absorbing toxins and removing them from the bloodstream.
    • NanoFlares are used for detection of cancer cells in the bloodstream.
    • Nanopores are used in making DNA sequencing more efficient.
  • Governmental Initiatives to Promote Nanotechnology:
    • Nano Science and Technology Mission (NSTM):
      • NSTM, launched in 2007, is an umbrella programme that aims to promote research and development in nanotechnology.
      • The objectives include the promotion of research, infrastructure development to support the research, development of nanotechnology, human resources, and international collaborations.
    • Nano Science and Technology Initiative (NSTI):
      • It was set up by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) in 2001.
      • It aims to focus on issues related to infrastructure development, research and application programmes related to nanomaterials including drugs, drug delivery, gene targeting and DNA chips.

Source: TH

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