The use of nanotechnology in medical procedures may just be a few short years away, according to new research.

A new study published Wednesday argued nanotechnology can be used to increase the effectiveness of medicine by entering cells through nanoparticles. It could revolutionize how drugs are given to patients.

“We can enhance how cells take them up and make more drugs more potent,” Dr. Steven Lenhert, a biologist at Florida State University, said in a press statement. “This is an essential step toward the discovery of novel nanotechnology based therapeutics. There’s big potential here for new therapeutics, but we need to be able to test everything first.”

Researchers tested toxicity of silicon-based nanoparticles on a standard cancer cell. They found more toxic test samples enhanced the ability of cells to take in medicine. This work could allow scientists to quickly study whole libraries of nanoparticles to see how cells react.

The research was funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

This study is one of the first tangible benefits of nanotechnology in medicine and represents an important step towards making it available to patents.

New nanotechnology-based methods and materials could help doctors make more precise medical diagnosis, ensure better healthcare outcomes and create massive reductions in the cost of healthcare. Nanotechnology could also improve the ability of doctors to diagnose conditions and allow medical conditions to be precisely targeted for treatment.

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