The South African Nanotechnology Initiative is a national network of academic researchers involved in nanotechnology, and other developing countries, such as Thailand, the Philippines, Chile, Argentina and Mexico, pursuing nanotechnology, according to Singer's paper.
Nanotechnologies are being developed in nearly every industry, including electronics, magnetics and optoelectronics, energy, information technology, materials development, transportation, pharmaceuticals and medicine.
The emerging field involves scientists from many disciplines, including physicists, chemists, engineers, materials scientists and biologists. More than 400 consumer products worldwide are derived from the use of nanotechnology in some way.
In 2005, Singer's group in Toronto published a study identifying and ranking the 10 nanotechnologies most likely to benefit the developing world in the near future.
At the top of the list were nanotechnology applications related to energy storage, production and conversion; enhancement of agricultural productivity; water treatment and remediation; and the diagnosis and treatment of disease.
In the US, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Cancer Institute (NCI) has formed the Nanotechnology Alliance for Cancer to move more quickly molecular-based science from the laboratory into the clinic.
"Nanotechnologies could revolutionise health care in developing countries and make treatments more readily available for diseases that claim millions of lives around the world each year." said Alliance Director Piotr Grodzinski.
Nanomaterials and nanomedical devices, he added, "will play increasingly critical and beneficial roles in improving the way we diagnose, treat, and ultimately prevent cancer and other diseases".
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