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Korean J Gastroenterol. 2007 May;49(5):271-9.

[Future direction of nanomedicine in gastrointestinal cancer].

[Article in Korean]

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Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Internal Medicine, Yonsei Institute of Gastroenterology, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.


Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in human, and among various cancers, gastrointestinal cancers occupy more than 55%. Gastric cancer is the first leading cause of cancer-related mortality in the world and the number of pancreas and colon cancers are increasing remarkably during last two decades which will continue to increase in the future. Even though the clinical importance of gastrointestinal cancers is very high and endless efforts has been made to develop novel diagnostic and therapeutic methods to improve the patient's quality of life and survival, the realistic advance in the actual survival benefit of the cancer patients are still strongly required. Nanotechnology has the power to radically change the way of cancer diagnosis and treatment. Currently, there is a lot of researches on novel nanodevices capable of detecting cancer at its earliest stage, pinpointing its location within the body, and delivering anticancer drugs specifically to the malignant cells. Nanoscale devices can readily interact with biomolecules both on the cell surface and within the cell. In addition, nanoscale devices are already proven that they can deliver therapeutic agents to target cells even within specific organelles. Major areas in which nanomedicine is being developed in cancer include early detection and proteomics, imaging diagnostics and multifunctional therapeutics. Because nanotechnology would provide a technical power and tool that enable new diagnostics, therapeutics, and preventives to keep pace with today's explosion in knowledge in the future, it would be very useful to know the perspectives in the direction of nanotechnology as a major clinician responsible for the patients with gastrointestinal malignancies.

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