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Nanotechnology for drug detection

I tell audiences that the day is coming when nanotechnology will be able to tell what they ate or smoked. That day is coming closer, according to Nanowerk News:

To this day, fingerprints are just the thing when a perpetrator needs to be arrested or a person needs to be identified. British scientists working with David A. Russell also want to make it possible to use fingerprints to reveal drug and doping transgressions and to diagnose diseases. As the team from the University of East Anglia in Norwich and King’s College in London report in the journal Angewandte Chemie (” “Intelligent” Fingerprinting: Simultaneous Identification of Drug Metabolites and Individuals by Using Antibody-Functionalized Nanoparticles”), they have now been able to use specific antibodies to differentiate between the fingerprints of smokers and nonsmokers.

Of course, there are positive and negative uses of this kind of powerful technology, and Foresight hopes to play a role in steering toward the former and away from the latter. Give us a hand! —Christine

One Response to “Nanotechnology for drug detection”

  1. Martin G. Smith Says:

    This technology, while an advance, requires rigorous observation and if it makes its way into the Criminal Justice system, the proponents and ultimately the users of the technology must inevitably be prepared to be cross examined on the veracity of their evidence. Any notion that such ‘Testing’ is an ‘Instant End, to a case is foolhardy indeed.

    Just as fMRI’s have come under the close order scrutiny of observers such as myself, and in this instance I wholeheartedly endorse the use of the technology as a demonstrative assessment tool, ‘Intelligent’ Fingerprinting, while useful as an analysis/assessment tool, falls well short of the mark as evidence.

    Just as the DSM-IV has been justly removed from the evidence stream in the Criminal Justice system for its lack of evidential accuracy, so too will any promotion of Nanotechnology of any shade be subjected to the same scrutiny.

    Bias, as always, declared.

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