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Nanomedicine. 2005 Jun;1(2):101-9.

Nanotechnology, nanomedicine, and the development of new, effective therapies for cancer.

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National Cancer Institute, Gaithersburg, Maryland, USA.


Cancer is the leading cause of death in the United States among people younger than 85 years, and for the first time has surpassed heart disease as the number one killer. This worrisome statistic has resulted not from an increase in the incidence of cancer, but because deaths from heart disease have dropped nearly in half while the number of cancer-related deaths has remained about the same. This fact accentuates the need for a new generation of more effective therapies for cancer. In this review, the development of new therapies will be discussed in the context of advances in nanotechnologies related to cancer detection, analysis, diagnosis, and therapeutic intervention. First, several nanoanalytical methods, such as the use of quantum dots in detection and imaging of cancer, will be described. These techniques will be essential to the process of precisely describing cancer at the level of the cell and whole organism. Second, examples of how nanotechnologies can be used in the development of new therapies will be given, including methods that might allow for more efficient and accurate drug delivery and rationally designed, targeted drugs. Finally, a new initiative--the National Cancer Institute Alliance for Nanotechnology in Cancer--will be described and discussed with respect to the scientific issues, policies, and funding.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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