To better understand the molecular steps that result in cancer and its spread, scientists and clinicians increasingly are turning to smaller and smaller probes that not only act as microscopic sentinels, but also as tools capable of interfering with these processes.
For this reason, the American Association for Cancer Research applauds the new initiative announced today by the National Cancer Institute to harness the power of nanotechnology in the fight against cancer.
"Nanotechnology can serve as an effective complement to approaches including proteomics and bioinformatics that will become critical components in the near- and long-term progress in cancer diagnostics, treatment and prevention," said Margaret Foti, Ph.D., M.D. (h.c.), chief executive officer of AACR.
As outlined, the NCI Alliance for Nanotechnology in Cancer will provide $144.3 million over five years to bring together researchers, clinicians and public and private organizations to translate cancer-related nanotechnology research for the benefit of the patient. 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 can be useful by themselves or as part of larger devices containing multiple nanoscale objects.
The new effort is designed to enhance cross-disciplinary and cross-sector collaborations in nanotechnology, which scientists now believe is poised for prime time application.
"Engineers, physicists, chemists and material scientists will now be able to work closely with biologists and cancer researchers to create nanotechnology devices capable of probing the inner sanctum of the cell and the multifactorial process that leads to cancer and metastasis," said Lynn M. Matrisian, Ph.D., president of the AACR. "Such collaborations are essential if we are going to make the advances against cancer we believe are possible in the near future.
"We in the cancer research community must reach out to scientists and experts from any discipline that offers new ways of understanding, interfering with and ultimately curing cancer. This nanotechnology initiative provides an important new model for how to do this."
Source: Eurekalert & othersLast reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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