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National Cancer Institute
National Cancer Institute U.S. National Institutes of Health National Cancer Institute
OverviewUnderstanding NanotechnologyImpacts on CancerWhere It Stands Now

Impacts on Cancer

Biological processes, including ones necessary for life and those that lead to cancer, occur at the nanoscale. Thus, in fact, we are composed of a multitude of biological nano-machines. Nanotechnology provides researchers with the opportunity to study and manipulate macromolecules in real time and during the earliest stages of cancer progression. Nanotechnology can provide rapid and sensitive detection of cancer-related molecules, enabling scientists to detect molecular changes even when they occur only in a small percentage of cells. Nanotechnology also has the potential to generate entirely novel and highly effective therapeutic agents.

Benefits for Diagnosis

In the fight against cancer, half of the battle is won based on its early detection. Nanotechnology provides new molecular contrast agents and materials to enable earlier and more accurate initial diagnosis as well as in continual monitoring of cancer patient treatment. Read about benefits for cancer diagnosis »

Benefits for Treatment and Clinical Outcomes

Cancer therapies are currently limited to surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. All three methods risk damage to normal tissues or incomplete eradication of the cancer. Nanotechnology offers the means to target chemotherapies directly and selectively to cancerous cells and neoplasms, guide in surgical resection of tumors, and enhance the therapeutic efficacy of radiation-based and other treatment modalities. All of which, can add up to a decreased risk to the patient and an increased probability of survival. Read about benefits for cancer treatment and clinical outcomes »

Patient Testimonials

View excerpts from the 2012 Alliance Principle Investigator’s Meeting where an oncologist and two cancer survivors shared their experiences with cancer. Listen to a testimonial »

Cancer Nanotechnology Podcasts

Listen to a series of podcasts explaining how nanotechnology is used to fight cancer through improved therapeutics, as well as diagnostic and imaging tools. Listen to a podcast »