Skip to content Skip to footer

Nanorobotics: Precision Healthcare of the Future

Nanomedicine is an emerging technology that has the potential to dramatically improve diagnostics and treatment of disease. Nanomedicine uses technology on a nanoscale, which is one billionth of a meter. It’s difficult to imagine, but consider that it is 1000 times smaller than a human hair and can only be seen through an incredibly powerful microscope. The potential for medical applications is ideal as biological molecules and cells also fall within this scale.

Precision nanomedicine

There are great strides being made in precision medicine with technologies like Pharmacogenomics and highly tailored prevention programs, but the future of nanomedicine promises to take precision to a whole new level. The ability for nanoparticles to target specific cells within the body makes it possible to administer medication, gene therapy, diagnose disease, or repair tissue at the most exacting level.

While scientists are still studying and testing advanced therapies such as nanorobotics for medical use, nanomedicine has been in use for years. These applications use nanoparticles for cancer treatment, MRIs, vaccines, and gene therapies. As of 2021 there are 15 anticancer nanodrugs that are approved and used clinically. The first was Doxil, in 1995, which took 16 years to develop. Since then, there has been a new nanodrug developed and approved every one to two years for cancer treatment alone, demonstrating the exponential growth potential of nanomedicine.

Nanoparticles act as transport vessels for medications that would otherwise not be able to reach certain places. This way, the medication affects only the targeted area and reduces damage to healthy cells.

Cancer is a prime example of where further advancements in nanomedicine could make a huge impact on recovery and survival rates. While the current nanotechnologies have helped immensely with cancer treatment, they are yet to be as precise as may soon be possible.

Current cancer treatments use chemotherapy on all cells in the body, including the healthy ones. Advancements in nanomedicine – particularly nanorobotics – could have the ability to administer chemotherapy directly to the cancer cells, leaving the healthy cells alone. This would improve the effectiveness of the treatments, reduce side effects, and increase recovery time.


What we expect to be the ultimate game changer in disease diagnosis and treatment, as well as many other important applications, is the development of nanobots made from DNA.

DNA nanobot studies have already been successfully executed. A 2018 study demonstrated a self-propelling nanobot that successfully inhibited cancer tumor growth. The study, published in The Journal of Nature Biotechnology, used the DNA molecule to construct a nanorobot that proved safe in mice and Bama miniature pigs. These highly intelligent delivery vessels work by seeking out cancer tumor blood cells and injecting them with drugs that cut off the blood supply to the tumor. This all occurred within 48 hours and only affected the targeted cancer cells.

The construction method used is called DNA origami. This technique folds DNA in such a way that they can act as carriers. It allows for precise size, shape and functionality control as well as a high efficacy rate. DNA is also organic meaning it can easily be broken down by the body.

Self-propulsion is a necessary part of ensuring these bots get where they need to go. Scientists needed to use organic material that can swim against the bloodstream. For this, they utilized enzymes as a micromotor. The chemical reaction that occurs creates enough energy for movement.

Many more years of research, development and testing are still ahead before we can expect to see this technology being used to its full potential, but the possibilities are what scientists dream about.

Rapid medical advancements are the future

Author of The Singularity is Near, computer scientist, inventor and futurist, Ray Kurzweil predicts that nanobots will already be commonplace by the 2030s, flowing through our bloodstreams and curing disease. He maintains that biotech and nanomedicine will be able to “address every disease and the aging processes.

These predictions are based on exponential growth in technology.

When emerging technologies like this seem to be a bit unbelievable, you should consider that technology and biotechnology has been growing exponentially for decades.

Take the first human genome sequencing for example. It cost an incredible US $1 billion, yet today the cost is around $600, which is down from $1000 from only a few years ago. This is a prime example of exponential growth in technology and cost that has made a once ‘sci-fi’ level technology not only real, but accessible.

In an interview in 2019, Kurzweil says he believes that in a decade from now medicine will look profoundly different and in twenty years “we’ll be able to reverse the aging process.”

Many scientists and researchers agree that nanobots are the future. The timeline will depend on overcoming various challenges, but the prospect of such advancements is intriguing.

Where we go from here

This type of advancement doesn’t come without many challenges, including production cost, scalability, safety, complexity of design and, finally, the approval needed from governing bodies such as Health Canada or the American FDA. With these hurdles comes much hope for the future.

The potential for scientific advancements in nanomedicine to increase exponentially over the coming years to target cancer cells, deliver medicine and greatly improve the speed and accuracy of diagnostics is incredible and exciting.

Getting precise treatment exactly where it needs to be is the future. We will continue to monitor the progress in nanomedicine and look forward to further breakthroughs in this field.

For now, Harrison will stay attune to the latest research in this space, and continue our mission to deliver the most current advancements in precision-based medicine available to us today.


Have questions about our programs & services?

Have questions?
Sign up for our monthly email updates


: Suite 910 – 517 10th Ave SW

: 403-879-7000

Vancouver (Burrard)

: Suite 500 – 1280 Burrard St

  : 604-753-6000

Vancouver (West Hastings)

: Suite 800 – 900 West Hastings St

: 604-206-8000

All services offered by Harrison Healthcare Inc. are for Canadian residents, and information provided on this site should not be considered solicitation for residents of other countries.

We would like to acknowledge with gratitude that we operate on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations in Vancouver, and of the Blackfoot Confederacy (Siksika, Kainai, Piikani), the Tsuut’ina, the Mountain Nakoda Nations, and the Métis Nation (Region 3) in Calgary. With appreciation, we recognize that these lands have been stewarded by them since time immemorial.

©2024 Harrison Healthcare | All Rights Reserved | Website by PilotStar™ Media