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."
Founded in 1907, the American Association for Cancer Research is a professional society of more than 24,000 laboratory, translational, and clinical scientists engaged in all areas of cancer research in the United States and in more than 60 other countries. AACR's mission is to accelerate the prevention and cure of cancer through research, education, communication and advocacy. Its principal activities include the publication of five major peer-reviewed scientific journals, Cancer Research, Clinical Cancer Research, Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, Molecular Cancer Research, and Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. AACR's Annual Meeting attracts more than 15,000 participants who share new and significant discoveries in the cancer field. Specialty meetings, held throughout the year, focus on the latest developments in all areas of cancer research.