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Nanomedicine (Terra Futura)

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Nanomedicine was the use of nanotechnology in medicine. This eliminated side effects.

(Note: The background section of this page uses most of the words from the DNA chips page of Terra Futura to save time.)

Background

Diagnosis of disease was never easy. It had been known back in ancient times. Ideas came out of people like Hippocrates. Then, in the early 20th century, a man named William Osler proposed that a doctor had to be able to identify a disease and its symptoms and to understand its mechanism and how to cure it. This was the basis for modern diagnosis and treatment. Years later, Osler's successor, Archibald Gerrod, inspired by Hippocrates, proposed that some diseases were inherited. This was confirmed by the Human Genome Project in the 1990s. In the early 21st century diagnosis of disease was revolutionized by the tricorder.

In 2012, the Qualcomm Tricorder X Prize was launched. The first two years were for registration. In 2014, the qualifying round began. When it ended, ten teams were left in the competition. The final round began in 2015. The number was first reduced to five. Finally, a winner was declared. The medical tricorder that won successfully diagnosed 15 diseases in 30 patients. The company whose tricorder won proceeded to make a tricorder that could diagnose even more diseases. This revolutionized healthcare totally. It could diagnose disease, show ongoing personal health metrics such as heart rate, monitor ongoing health, summarize a person's health, and confirm a person was healthy or not. The cost of healthcare and health insurance was significantly reduced. Eventually, the medical tricorder became ubiquitous. It could be found in toilets, in bathroom mirrors, in clothes, and even in a person's body. This was made possible by the DNA chip.

With DNA fragments embedded on the chip, this advanced medical tricorder could identify genetic disorders from a select group of genes. Cancer could be detected before it became a problem. The invention of the DNA chip occurred in 1997 when it was released to the public by the Affymetrix company. This early DNA chip could analyze 50,000 DNA sequences. By 2000, DNA chips could 400,000 DNA sequences for a few thousand dollars. By 2002, even more powerful DNA chips cost $200. The DNA chip became cheap enough to be commonplace. This made the medical tricorder ubiquitous and reduced the cost of diagnosis. Soon, this would not only revolutionize diagnosis. It would help cure disease, too.

Description

Tech Level: 10

In the movie Fantastic Voyage, a team of doctors is shrunken and then sent into the body of a scientist to save him from a possible stroke. In the early 21st century, something similar came into existence. No shrinking involved. Robots were being miniaturized. Smart pills examined the inside of a person's body. Later on, they would perform minor surgery. By 2025, nanoparticles were used to treat cancer. They revolutionized chemotherapy by specifically targeting cancer cells. They would then use cancer drugs to kill cancer cells. Some nanoparticles actually killed cancer cells. They were even detecting cancer cells before a tumor had even formed. One step up from the nanoparticle was the nanocar. Normally made of a samarium-cobalt alloy, nanocars were steered by magnetic fields and propelled themselves through blood vessels with tail or flagellum that turned like a cork-screw, much like with bacteria. They were used to perform surgery. All of this was even being done on the genetic level. Soon, genetic disorders would be cured.

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