Cancer Nanotechnology--a Panacea (Letter to Editor) (Report)
Internet Journal of Medical Update 2010, Jan, 5, 1
Vicky V. Mody et Hardik R. Mody
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Sir Nanotechnology is the manufacturing of the minuscule gears in the range of nanometers. Even though the term is new, its history dates back to the year 1959 when Richard P. Feynman, a physicist at Caltech said, "There is plenty of room at the bottom", suggesting to decrease the particle size of the molecule to use it at its full throttle.(1) His intriguing talk on this new subject led to the advent of a new field "Nanotechnology". Since then myriad work has been done to develop nanoparticles which range in size of 100nm or less to enable its use in medicine, electronics, and energy production. To have a better viewpoint, a nanometer is 1/50,000 times of the width of an average human hair. Moreover, the maximum height of a DNA strand is approximately three times a nanometer. Likewise, a variety of biological processes occur at nanometer scales. Thus it is easy to conclude that human body is fabricated of framework of natural nanoclusters such as genes and cells. Consequently, in order to communicate with these natural nanoclusters, a moiety with dimensions on a nanometric scale has to be developed. As a result, nanoparticles can offer some unique advantages in the field of biotechnology. Hence, it is no wonder that nanotechnology has been used around the world for copious medical applications such as imaging and targeting of diseases. Among all the diseases, cancer is the key area of medical nanotechnology research due to the defects in its morphology formed during the process of angiogenesis. Angiogenesis represents the ability to form new blood vessels and is a critical step in tumor development. It is during this process the tumor establishes an independent blood supply, consequently facilitating tumor growth. These newly formed tumor vessels are usually abnormal in form and their architecture is defined by leaky endothelial cells with wide fenestrations. Fortunately, these leaky membranes can be used to our advantage to deliver certain sized molecules which can accumulate in tumor tissue enabling its diagnosis and therapy. This enhanced permeability of the molecules of certain sizes in the tumor cells as opposed to normal tissue is defined as Enhanced Permeability and Retention (EPR) effect. (2)