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WIREs Nanomed Nanobiotechnol
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Nanomedicine and ethics: is there anything new or unique?

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Abstract As medicine moves toward being able to predict what you will die from and when, nanomedicine is expected to enhance human capabilities and properties and promises the ability of health care professionals to diagnose, treat, and share medical information nearly instantaneously. It promises to deliver drugs directly to the source of the disease, i.e. tumor. This article examines the literature surrounding ethics associated with nanomedicine, and asks whether these ethical issues are new and unique. While opinions differ, this review concludes that none of the ethical questions surrounding nanomedicine are new or unique, and would hold true for any new medical device or medicine that was being evaluated. The real issue becomes public acceptance of nanomedicine and how much risk society is willing to accept with a new technology before it is proven effective and ‘safe’. While ethical foresight can prove effective in forecasting potential problems, in reality, ethics may not be capable of evaluating such a technology that has yet proven effective in all it has promised. WIREs Nanomed Nanobiotechnol 2011 3 111–118 DOI: 10.1002/wnan.90 This article is categorized under: Toxicology and Regulatory Issues in Nanomedicine > Regulatory and Policy Issues in Nanomedicine

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The map shows the locations (by zipcode) of companies, universities, government laboratories, and organizations working in nanotechnology around the United States. Available at: http://www.nanotechproject.org/inventories/map/.

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(a) Public's understanding of risk and benefits of nanotechnology. Participants were asked before and after being provided information about nanotechnology. Survey conducted in 2008 with 1003 participants.35 (b) Public's awareness of nanotechnology. Survey conducted in 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009.36.

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