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CISN - The Promise Of Nanotechnology - pg. 2

The Promise Of Nanotechnology - pg. 2

What is the future of nanotechnology?

The NCI's Alliance for Nanotechnology in Cancer, other government agencies, international partners, and dozens of small private companies are conducting other studies using nanotechnology in cancer diagnosis and treatment focused in some of the areas shown on this page.


Image of National Cancer Institute & Department of Defense nanotechnology centers courtesy of the NCI.



Efforts are being focused on constructing robust "smart" nanostructures that will be capable of detecting malignant cells in vivo, pinpointing their location in the body, killing the cells, and reporting back that their payload has done its job.

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Other examples of efforts underway:

  • Ensure the safety of nanotechnology for cancer diagnosis and treatment
  • Improve cancer imaging agents
  • Prevent precancerous cells from becoming malignant
  • Improve cancer treatments
  • Reduce cancer treatment side effects
  • Monitor efficacy of cancer treatments
  • Combine diagnostics and therapeutics that will circulate throughout the body, detect cancer and associated molecular changes, assist with imaging, release a therapeutic agent, and then monitor the effectiveness of the intervention.


CISN Summary

In 1986, K. Eric Drexler wrote "Engines of Creation" and introduced the term nanotechnology. Scientific research greatly expanded over the last several decades and inventors and corporations weren't far behind. Today, more than 13,000 patents registered with the U.S. Patent Office have the word "nano" in them. Source: U.S. Patent and trademark Office.

Nanotechnology is providing a critical bridge between the physical sciences and engineering on one hand, and modern molecular biology and medicine on the other.

Example of future application


Dendrimers (nanoscale molecules) can serve as versatile platforms for creating multifunctional devices capable of detecting cancer and delivering drugs.

Image courtesy of the National Cancer Institute


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