Neuroprotection at the Nanolevel—Part I

Introduction to Nanoneurosurgery


Address for correspondence: Russell J. Andrews, M.D., 50 E. Hamilton Ave., Ste. 120, Campbell, CA 95032. Voice: 408-374-0401; fax: 408-866-8842.


Nanoneurosurgery demands a departure from the traditional “excise what you can see and touch” role of neurosurgeons. Moreover, there is a conceptual leap necessary for neuroscientists as well as neurosurgeons in developing and applying nanotechniques to neurosurgery at the nanolevel. After introducing the realm of nanotechnology and some unique properties of nanomaterials, I review several of the nanotechniques in development that are most likely to affect neuroprotection at the nanolevel. These techniques include quantum dot “nanobarcode” labeling of cellular and subcellular entities, as well as nanotechniques for following enzymatic reactions in real time. Nanoscaffolds offer mechanical enhancement of neurorepair; carbon nanotube electrode arrays can provide nanolevel electrical and chemical enhancement. Even traditional “cut and sew” surgery is being taken down to the micron, if not nano, level for single axon repair, and the technology can use capillaries to deliver therapeutics to virtually any portion of the nervous system with greater than pinpoint accuracy. In this report, I use these nanotechniques to introduce the multiplex nanodevices under development.