The fungi kingdom are often our friends, however in some situations they have proven to be a danger to our health. There are a number of medical conditions which arise due to fungi inside the human body.
Which Conditions do Fungus Cause?
While many incidences of fungus on the body merely result in irritating infections like thrush or Athlete’s Foot, in some cases they can get into the bloodstream. When this happens, it can result in some very serious illnesses which may be life-threatening. Conditions like Aspergillosis can be very unpleasant and dangerous for the elderly, those with HIV/AIDS or others who have compromised immune systems.
What is a Nanorobot?
If you’ve never heard of a nanorobot you won’t be alone. However, there is increasing evidence that they are going to be the future of medicine.
Medical nanorobots are set to be so tiny that they will be as small as bacteria and will be made up of thousands of mechanical parts as small as molecules. These parts may resemble ratchets, bearings and gears, and they may be made from a diamond-like, very strong material.
Nanorobots are going to require motors to move around, and they will need mechanical legs or manipulator arms. They will also require their own power supply as well as sensors which will guide it around and an onboard computer which will control the way it behaves.
What Will A Nanorobot Do?
So, what exactly will a nanorobot be able to do? The answer to that will depend on the type of nanorobot we’re talking about. Microbivore nanorobots, as just one example, may function in the same way as a white cell, searching for germs like fungi inside the blood and then digesting them. The patient could be injected with around 100 billion microbivore nanorobots and they would rapidly set to work digesting fungi, bacteria and viruses into completely harmless molecules within minutes.
It’s expected that it would only take a couple of hours for this treatment to work, unlike the days that it takes for today’s most effective antibiotics take to work. This means that bacteria would be unable to evolve to develop resistance in the same way that they do to antibiotics. Once the treatment was over, the doctor would then be able to emit ultrasound signals which would send the nanorobots into the patient’s kidneys, and from there they could be excreted painlessly with the urine.
There are other even more impressive potential uses for nanorobots. They may be able to detect cancer cells as they are forming and destroy them before they have a chance to grow and develop, or perhaps even carry out surgery on cells. There is a procedure which has been proposed in which a chromallocyte, a particular type of nanorobot, would take chromosomes from diseased cells before inserting new ones back into their place. Defective genes which had been inherited would be able to be replaced using non-defective ones to permanently cure genetic diseases. It is also thought that chromosome replacement therapies could rectify genetic mutations and damage which happen over time and which lead to cell ageing. This could eventually cure the ageing process.
When will Nanorobots be Used?
There is no definitive timescale on how quickly we will be able to see nanorobots being used in medical settings. At present they are mainly only theory. In order to build them, it will be necessary to develop a brand new kind of technology – molecular manufacturing and developing such advanced technology is not without risk.
The earliest proof that it was possible to manipulate individual atoms was obtained in 1989 by scientists from IBM, and so there is evidence that producing nanorobots should be possible too. However, a future-style nanofactory will require enormous parallel arrays of miniscule probes to manipulate molecules of acetylene, propane or natural gas in order to create the machine parts which will then be necessary to put the medical nanorobots together. At present, this technology is not yet within reach, yet a group of scientists called the Nanofactory Collaboration are working on a development and research programme to build the world’s first functioning nanofactory which would be capable of creating nanorobots and so we hope that within two decades these amazing technological wonders will be in our hospitals.