Medical Nanotechnology Critical Endeavor in Cancer treatment
Joined: Dec 2009
09-12-2009, 05:44 PM
The advent of nanotechnology in cancer research couldnâ„¢t have come at a more opportune time. The vast knowledge of cancer genomics and proteomics emerging as a result of the Human Genome Project is providing critically important details of how cancer develops, which in turn creates new opportunities to attack the molecular underpinnings of cancer. However, scientists lack the technological innovations to turn promising molecular discoveries into benefits for cancer patients. It is here that nanotechnology can play a pivotal role, providing the technological power and tools that will enable those developing new diagnostics, therapeutics, and preventives to keep pace with todayâ„¢s explosion in knowledge.
Nanotechnology provides the sized materials that can be synthesized and function in the same general size range and Biologic structures. Attempts are made to develop forms of anticancer therapeutics based on nanomaterials. Dendritic polymer nanodevices serves as a means for the detection of cancer cells, the identification of cancer signatures, and the targeted delivery of anti-cancer therapeutics (cis-platin, methotrexate, and taxol) and contrast agents to tumor cells. Initial studies documented the synthesis and function of a targeting module, several drug delivery components, and two imaging/contrast agents. Analytical techniques have been developed and used to confirm the structure of the device. Progress has been made on the specifically triggered release of the therapeutic agent within a tumor using high-energy lasers. The work to date has demonstrated the feasibility of the nano-device concept in actual cancer cells in vitro.
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09-03-2011, 09:39 AM
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To help meet the goal of eliminating death and suffering from cancer by 2015, the National Cancer Institute is engaged in efforts to harness the power of nanotechnology to radically change the way we diagnose, image, and treat cancer. Already, NCI programs have supported research on novel nanodevices capable of one or more clinically important functions, including detecting cancer at its
earliest stages, pinpointing its location within the body, delivering anticancer drugs specifically to malignant cells,
and determining if these drugs are killing malignant cells.
As these nanodevices are evaluated in clinical trials, researchers envision that nanotechnology will serve as multifunctional tools that will not only be used with any number of diagnostic and therapeutic agents, but will change the very foundations of cancer diagnosis, treatment, and prevention.
NANOTECHNOLOGY AND CANCER
Nanotechnology will change the very foundations of cancer diagnosis, treatment, and prevention.
The advent of nanotechnology in cancer research couldn't have come at a more opportune time. The vast knowledge of cancer genomics and proteomics emerging as a result of the Human Genome Project is providing critically important details of how cancer develops, which, in turn, creates new opportunities to attack the molecular underpinnings of cancer. However, scientists lack the technological innovations to turn promising molecular discoveries into benefits for cancer patients. It is here that nanotechnology can play a pivotal role, providing the technological power and tools that will enable those developing new diagnostics, therapeutics, and preventives to keep pace with today's explosion in knowledge.
To harness the potential of nanotechnology in cancer,
NCI is seeking broad scientific input to provide direction to research and engineering applications. In doing so, NCI will develop a Cancer Nanotechnology Plan. Drafted with input from experts in both cancer research and nanotechnology, the Plan (see pages 4 and 5) will guide NCI in supporting the interdisciplinary efforts needed to turn the promise of nanotechnology and the postgenomics revolution in knowledge into dramatic gains in our ability to diagnose, treat, and prevent cancer. Though this quest is near its beginning, the following pages highlight some of the significant advances that have already occurred from bridging the interface between modern molecular biology and nanotechnology.
To harness the potential of nanotechnology in cancer, NCI is seeking broad scientific input to provide direction to research and
DEVELOPING A CANCER NANOTECHNOLOGY PLAN
NCI's Cancer Nanotechnology Plan will provide critical support for the field though extramural project and implimentations, intramural programs, and a new Nanotechnology Standardization Laboratory. This latter facility will develop important standards for nanotechnological constructs and devices that will enable researchers to develop cross-functional platforms that will serve multiple purposes. The laboratory will be a centralized characterization laboratory capable of generating technical data that will assist researchers in choosing which of the many promising nanoscale devices they might want to use for a particular clinical or research application. In addition, this new laboratory will facilitate the development of data to support regulatory sciences for the translation of nanotechnology into clinical applications.
The six major challenge areas of emphasis include:
Prevention and Control of Cancer
Developing nanoscale devices that can deliver cancer prevention agents
Designing multicomponent anticancer vaccines using nanoscale delivery vehicles
Early Detection and Proteomics
Creating implantable, biofouling-indifferent molecular sensors that can detect cancer-associated biomarkers that can be collected for ex vivo analysis or analyzed in situ, with the results being transmitted via wireless technology to the physician
Developing "smart" collection platforms for simultaneous mass spectroscopic analysis of multiple cancer-associated markers
Designing "smart" injectable, targeted contrast agents that improve the resolution of cancer to the single
Engineering nanoscale devices capable of addressing the biological and evolutionary diversity of the multiple cancer cells that make up a tumor within an individual
Developing nanoscale devices that integrate diagnostic and therapeutic functions
Creating "smart" therapeutic devices that can control the spatial and temporal release of therapeutic agents while monitoring the effectiveness of these agents
Quality of Life Enhancement in Cancer Care
Designing nanoscale devices that can optimally deliver medications for treating conditions that may arise over time with chronic anticancer therapy, including pain, nausea, loss of appetite, depression, and difficulty breathing
Coordinating efforts to provide cross-training in molecular and systems biology to nanotechnology engineers and in nanotechnology to cancer researchers
8 Creating new interdisciplinary coursework/degree programs to train a new generation of researchers
skilled in both cancer biology and nanotechnology
WHAT IS NANOTECHNOLOGY?
Nanotechnology refers to the interactions of cellular and molecular components and engineered materials—typically clusters of atoms, molecules, and molecular fragments—at the most elemental level of biology. Such nanoscale objects—typically, though not exclusively, with dimensions smaller than 100 nanometers—can be useful by themselves or as part of larger devices containing multiple nanoscale objects. At the nanoscale, the physical, chemical, and biological properties of materials differ fundamentally and often unexpectedly from those of the corresponding bulk material because the quantum mechanical properties of atomic interactions are influenced by material variations on the nanometer scale. In fact, by creating nanometer-scale structures, it is possible to control fundamental characteristics of a material, including its melting point, magnetic properties, and even color, without changing
the material's chemical composition.
Nanoscale devices and nanoscale components of larger devices are of the same size as biological entities. They are smaller than human cells (10,000 to 20,000 nanometers in diameter) and organelles and similar in size to large biological macromolecules such as enzymes and receptors—hemoglobin, for example, is approximately 5 nm in diameter, while the lipid bilayer surrounding cells is on the order of 6 nm thick. Nanoscale devices smaller than 50 nanometers can easily enter most cells, while those smaller than 20 nanometers can transit out of blood vessels. As a result, nanoscale devices can readily interact with biomolecules on both the cell surface and within the cell, often in ways that do not alter the behavior and biochemical properties of those molecules. From a scientific viewpoint, the actual construction and characterization of nanoscale devices may contribute to understanding carcinogenesis.
Noninvasive access to the interior of a living cell affords the opportunity for unprecedented gains on both clinical and basic research frontiers. The ability to simultaneously interact with multiple critical proteins and nucleic acids at the molecular scale should provide better understanding of the complex regulatory and signaling networks that govern the behavior of cells in their normal state and as they undergo malignant transformation. Nanotechnology
Noninvasive access to the interior of a living cell affords the opportunity for unprecedented gains on both clinical and basic research frontiers.