Understanding Nanomedicine:  An Introductory Textbook
By Rob Burgess, PhD
Copyright 2011. Pan Stanford Publishing.  All Rights Reserved.
To the Student

As of the writing of this publication there is no introductory textbook available which sufficiently teaches the emerging concepts and principles behind nanotechnology and its potential enormous impact on the field of medicine.  The science of nanotechnology is maturing at such a rapid pace that I feel the time is now to address its most promising area of application, and that is medicine.  It is crucial for the future scientists, researchers and medical specialists of our time to have a strong grasp and understanding of both the potential for nanotechnology to revolutionize therapeutics and diagnostics as well as the risks associated with these endeavors.  I firmly believe that if you take the time to study and enjoy this introductory text you will not only appreciate the future impact that nanotechnology will have on man's health and well-being but also begin to form your own concepts and ideas on how to realize that impact.


With the exception of Chapter 10, I have based this composition of the concepts and examples presented in this book solely on hard facts and published data.  I have not, for example, glossed over the possibility of nanoparticle toxicity but rather cited references to such where appropriate.  The book is heavily focused on the use of nanoparticles as thermal ablation agents or drug delivery vehicles, as these areas are perhaps the largest areas of focus for nanotechnology with respect to medicine today.  In addition, as much of the content is not considered to be central scientific dogma but rather exciting yet preliminary research, the text is often written in review format, describing profound data and research and giving full credit to scientists and medical doctors for their published findings by citing appropriate scientific articles.


The chapters are organized largely as self-contained in subject material, beginning with non-medical definitions and descriptions of nanotechnology and transitioning to biology and putative uses of nanotechnology in medicine.  The material transitions from the fundamentals of nanoscience to applications of those fundamentals and physical properties for the betterment of medicine and medical research.  Each chapter is followed by a glossary of key terms and a set of review questions.  I strongly urge the student to study these in order to gain a thorough understanding of that particular chapter's material.


It is also recommended that the assigned material be read and thoroughly reviewed prior to the corresponding lecture.  In addition, I suggest that you review the key terms at the end of each chapter and make an attempt at answering the review questions prior to the material being covered, either in class or during study sessions.  The answers to these questions can be found at www.understandingnano.org .  This will allow you to have a basic grasp of the principles and subjects presented or discussed and make the lecture series more interesting and enjoyable.  Also, take thorough notes in class and recopy those notes, preferably on the same day to re-emphasize the material.  You will retain it longer and have less difficulty for recall during exams.  If you are so inclined it is also recommended that you reread the text covered by lecture after class to aid in understanding and retention. 


Finally, I am always seeking comments, including both praise and criticism, regarding my manuscripts and publications.  I cannot obtain more legitimate and valuable feedback than from the students for which this book was written.  If you have ideas or suggestions for how I might make future editions of this book more useful please contact me.




                                                                               Rob Burgess