The nanosciences and advances in medicine
Taking decisions today makes us ready tomorrow In the future the nanobiotechnologies will bring about real advances in the field of health, especially in three particular areas : - Diagnosis : by improving investigations in vitro (with the most up-to-date biochips and "Lab on Chips") as well as in vivo (using virtually non-invasive techniques involving ingeted capsules containing nano-video cameras). - Healthcare : drug targeting and delivery, - Correction of physical defects : tissue engineering and neuroprostheses. Like all the nanotechnologies, these techniques are now inevitable, and although they are the focus of great expectations they are also generating certain fears. It is therefore essential to look into the potential risks of the nanotechnologies (for example, toxicity or environmental discharges), to do so in parallel with research concerned with the applications of nanotechnologies, and to publish the results. Legislation should be submitted to the French parliament in order to highlitht the strategic nature of the nanotechnologies, establish a road map, and draw up guidelines for research and its backing (both financial and industrial). The legislation should take due regard of the very rapid development of the nanotechnologies, and make provision for its periodic reassessment by the OPECST. The Micro -and Nanotechnologies Observatory (OMNT) should be provided with additional resources enabling it permanently to monitor research carried out anywhere in the worlk and to encourage links with the European Commission and with individual countries of Europe. Public funding should be such as to match the strategic importance of the nanotechnologies to ensure that the countries of Europe are no longer left behind by the United States and Japan. Ethical aspects such as privacy and the temptation to create superhumans should be taken fully into account with a view to defining a "corpus of doctrine".
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Office Parlementaire dĀ“Evaluation des Choix Scientifiques et Technologiques of the French Parliament (OPECST)