DOAJ:Biology and Life Sciences
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AbstractNanotechnology is concerned with materials and systems whose structures and components exhibit novel physical, chemical, and biological properties due to their nanoscale size. This paper focuses on what is known as nanomedicine, referring to the application of nanotechnology to medicine. We consider the use and potentials of emerging nanoscience techniques in medicine such as nanosurgery, tissue engineering, and targeted drug delivery, and we discuss the ethical questions that these techniques raise. The ethical considerations involved in nanomedicine are related to risk assessment in general, somatic-cell versus germline-cell therapy, the enhancement of human capabilities, research into human embryonic stem cells and the toxicity, uncontrolled function and self-assembly of nanoparticles. The ethical considerations associated with the application of nanotechnology to medicine have not been greatly discussed. This paper aims to balance clear ethical discussion and sound science and so provide nanotechnologists and biotechnologists with tools to assess ethical problems in nanomedicine.