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Nanotechnology and Oncology – Workshop Summary


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Note: Proceedings contain the opinion of the presenters, but do NOT reflect the conclusions of the Health and Medicine Division or the National Academies. Learn more about the differences between Reports and Proceedings.

One of the challenges in treating cancer is the disease’s complexity. Cancer emerges and behaves differently in each patient, and the same treatment may be effective in one patient and ineffective in another. Nanotechnology in medicine—also known as nanomedicine—has the potential to overcome these and other challenges in cancer care. Nanotechnology could improve diagnostic imaging to detect cancer earlier and locate it more accurately; direct treatments more accurately to cancer cells and avoid causing harm to healthy ones; and create new tools for cancer prevention.

The National Cancer Policy Forum held a workshop July 12-13, 2010, to explore what nanomedicine is, what it can do, its potential risks and benefits, and how it should be regulated. Discussions focused on the use of nanotechnology in oncology and cancer research; research and development of new cancer nanomedicine; risk management; and nanontechnology and the public. This document summarizes the workshop.