Nanomedicine is the study of nanotechnology in a healthcare and life science setting, working with matter and machines and the nano scale of 1-100 nanometres (One billionth of a metre). It's the applicational of biotechnology and advanced engineering into medicine.
Our MSc in Nanomedicine will allow you to understand the fundamentals of nanotechnology and its application to healthcare. This quick guide is designed to give you a taste of this world and the exciting avenues our MSc will give you to explore, improving your lab skills and your long-term employability.
Nanomedicine in Healthcare
The long-term NHS plan highlights the pathway to transform service delivery and better meet local health needs. Studying Nanomedicine at Swansea will give you skills and confidence in leadership, management, education and research, three of the four pillars of advanced clinical practice.
Our world-leading researchers and teachers will expose you to fundamentals in Pharmacology, Drug Design, Patient Management, Biosafety in the context of anatomy and physiology, degenerative disease, advanced engineering in the form of diagnostics and imaging.
Nanomedicine is used for medical purposes in three areas - diagnosis, controlled drug delivery and regenerative medicine. Excitingly, theranostic applications have emerged, which combine material features to enhance diagnostics/tracing while carrying and delivering the therapy.
Nanomedicines address unmet clinical need by:
- Lowering effective molecule toxicity and re-purposing drug applications
- Exploiting multiple mechanisms of action related to novel nanoscale physiochemical properties
- Maximising efficacy through increased bioavailability, providing drug targeting, controlled site-specific release and favouring preferential distribution to disease sites
Nanomedicine will play an enabling role in the implementation of personalised medicine as it provides tools for a better prediction and early diagnosis, the design of personalised treatments as well as for close monitoring of therapeutic success.
Nanoparticles are now taking their place in the fight against disease. Nano-enabled medical products began appearing on the market over a decade ago, with some now best-sellers in their therapeutic categories.
The main areas of impact are cancer, central nervous system diseases, cardiovascular disease and infection control.
The area of cancer therapy is a prime focus for nanopharmaceutical research and development, and many companies are at the clinical stage of development in this field.
Treatments for disorders of the central nervous system, including Alzheimer’s and stroke, feature prominently in nanotherapeutic research, seeking to build on the achievements of successful products for these treatments.
Nanotechnology is widely accepted as a driver of biomedical innovation and a modern medicine game-changer. Traditionally, medicine involves administering drugs that have a variety of effects, some desirable and others not (side effects).
Nanotechnology enables applications in medicine, from:
- Targeted drug delivery
- Antibacterial/resistance treatments
- Wound treatment
- Repair of damaged tissue
Damaged tissue repair is achieved with nanotechnology by harvesting intrinsic properties, growth factor incorporated nanofibres or stem cell incorporated scaffolds.
Both acute and chronic disease management benefits from better nano-enabled data management strategies and nanoparticle-based screening tests for early or more sensitive detection, providing invaluable information for clinical management and timely intervention.
Nanosensor diagnostics is a huge biotech growth area, improving the efficiency of testing and allowing for less invasive and more cost-efficient methods of testing. Nanotechnology is perfectly placed to improve our ability to cure diseases. Limited only by imagination, these technology and application advances present an exciting field for development.
While cancer patient outcomes have improved, there are still limitations to radio and/or chemotherapy treatment. Such medications are indiscriminate in inhibiting or destroying cancer cells, damaging healthy cells and presenting significant, well known side effects.
Integrating nanocarriers or nanovehicles may significantly improve treatment efficacy, lowering unwanted side effects. Targeted smart nanocarriers could release medications at specific sites, in response to specific chemical cues, opening new avenues for chemotherapy treatment and advanced therapeutics.
Our curriculum explores cancer complexity and dynamics, paving the way for molecular medicine fundamentals to bridge the bench-to-bedside gap and allow you to strategically plan future nanomedicines. You will then get time in the lab to conduct appropriate investigations for exploiting tumour microenvironments, understanding fundamental biological processes and how they modulate nanoparticle–protein interactions, blood circulation, and tumour penetration.
For successful translation of nanomaterials into clinical application, clear regulatory pathways and test methods are essential for quality, safety and efficacy assessments. A whole spectrum of industry stakeholders have adopted such approaches, clearly aligned with our MSc Nanomedicine curriculum.
The skill sets taught on the course are central to employability prospects in sectors such as Biotech, Medicines Manufacturing, Data Analytics, Contract Research Organisations and the Pharmaceutical Industry.
Nanomaterials and particles can be used as image agents or therapeutic drugs as well as for drug and gene delivery, biological devices, nanoelectronic biosensors and molecular nanotechnology.
As the composition, morphology, chemical properties, implant sites and potential applications become more and more complex, biosafety of nanomaterials for clinical use has become a major focus. If nanoparticles accumulate in the human body or interact with other molecules and/or chemical components, health risks may also occur.
Regulation and Testing of Nanomedicines, Nanotechnology and Nanoparticles
Importantly, environmental risk factors are also considered. Accordingly, the unique chemical and physical properties, potential applications in medical fields, as well as human and environmental biosafety are constantly under review.
For the safe evaluation and supervision of nanomedicines, critical quality attributes and safety parameters must be identified and translated into standardised and regulatory-accepted test methods/testing strategies. Standardised test methods will not only support regulatory decision making for the benefit of the patients, but also reduce the uncertainty for product developers on regulatory information requirements during the different approval steps.
Nanomedicines are emerging medicinal products that must comply with the high standards of the medicinal product regulation. Due to their size-related physicochemical properties and the sometimes resulting biological effects, nanomaterials can require additional quality and safety testing compared to standard-sized products.
Being described as the next revolution to hit diverse industries, including chemistry, medicine, materials science and engineering, has placed more attention on nanosafety and nanorisks within toxicology and associated regulatory bodies. The toxicity of nanomaterials and their effect on biological ecosystems, the human body and surrounding biosystems depends on the nature, particle size, shape, substituents and coatings of nanoparticles.
The Future with Nanomedicines and Nanotechnologies
The principles of Nanomedicine are embedded in current and future clinical practice. All aspects of healthcare provision are reliant on technology, from diagnostics and imaging providing the information crucial to patient management strategies to the technologies that will underpin better drug development and delivery.
Our Nanomedicine MSc will provide an in depth knowledge across the spectrum of Nanomedicine and its role in future healthcare provision, and providing you with the base for future career progression.
Thinking smaller to address some of the biggest medical problems facing healthcare providers is not a new phenomenon. From developing first generation nanomaterials, their ever-increasing impact in medicine is based on new and novel applications and their compatibility with driving down widespread toxicity for potent medicines.
Despite this huge immediate impact, nanomedicines are at the early stages of their development. In the field of medical science, the ability to manipulate matter at the nano-scale is comparable to the invention and advancement of microscopy. Nanomedicine will transform drug delivery, wound treatment, gene therapy, diagnostics and almost every branch of medicine in time.
What’s exciting for us is that we have the opportunity to be at the forefront of this research and to witness this transformation, providing our MSc Nanomedicine graduates with essential knowledge to springboard into the future.
A major challenge is the scalable fabrication of nanomedicines. Controlling these processes and developing assays needed to critically assess development stages is a major challenge. Pharmaceutical innovation has led to subsequent biotechnology evolution, in turn leading to factors such as quality by design and process analytical technologies being recognised as critical skills and knowledge for the systematic evaluation of nanomedicines.
Underpinning these design and manufacture processes, endorsed by the FDA, is the understanding of key principles in nanomedicine. The therapeutic purpose, pharmacological, pharmacokinetic, toxicological, chemical and physical properties of the medicine, process formulation, packaging, and the design of the manufacturing process are all considered.
Nanomedicines are made, therefore, with consideration to the relevant relationships between the characteristics, parameters of the formulation and process in order to develop effective processes to ensure the quality of the nanomedicines.
Nanotechnology and medicine have increasing impact on many aspects of our daily lives, expanding career opportunities in food science, in medical and in engineering. Our industry-focused MSc Nanomedicine curriculum allows our graduates to gain the transferable laboratory, critical and soft skills in science communication necessary to pursue a scientific or clinical research career. Our graduates have gone on to pursue successful careers in industry (biopharmaceutical and biotechnology), academia (PhDs) and professional vocations, such as the Graduate Entry Medicine and Physician Associate Studies programmes.
If you are you looking for a way to take your degree in biological, life-sciences, engineering or physics to the next level to enhance your laboratory skills and career prospects, our MSc in Nanomedicine could be what you are looking for.
Explore More on Nanomedicine
INTRO TO NANOMEDICINE
Professor Steve Conlan gives a brief overview of the key areas of Nanomedicine
RESEARCH AND INNOVATION IN NANOMEDICINE
Dr Gareth Healy discusses Research & Innovation Management challenges and opportunities
WHY STUDY NANOMEDICINE AT SWANSEA?
Dr Ruth Godfrey outlines the key benefits of the Nanomedicine course
ANALYTICAL CHEMICAL TECHNIQUES IN NANOMEDICINE
Dr Ruth Godfrey introduces Analytical Chemical Techniques in Nanomedicine
Take a Virtual Tour and Explore for yourself
Check out a 360o tour of our campus and explore our accommodation...