Something for you to look over at your leisure: the National Cancer Institute maintains a large and informative website on nanotechnology and its role in the future of cancer research. A cure for cancer is an important milestone in the road to radical life extension, as the immediate future of regenerative medical technologies (such as those based on stem cells) will lead to repairs for age-related damage that do not reduce the ever-increasing risk of cancer.
As I have noted before, the first applications of nanotechnology to medicine are diagnostic in nature. Improvements in nanoscale manufacturing have led to powerful applications in this field. The NCI website notes:
NCI programs conducted over the past five years have supported research on novel nanodevices that may detect and pinpoint the location of cancer at its earliest stages, deliver anticancer drugs specifically to malignant cells, and determine in real-time if these drugs are effective in killing malignant cells.
We envision that nanotechnology will change the very foundations of cancer diagnosis, treatment and prevention.
For current day cancer treatment, early detection makes the different between life and death. Most cancers can already be dealt with if caught very early on.
For those of you who like such things, there is a webcast on September 13th:
The National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health, hosts a media briefing on the formal announcement of its $144.3 million, five-year integrated initiative to develop and apply nanotechnology to cancer prevention, detection, diagnosis and treatment. Nanotechnology, the development and engineering of devices so small that they are measured on a molecular scale, has already demonstrated promising results in cancer research and treatment.
The NCI has invited experts from both the oncology and nanotechnology disciplines to brief reporters on the science, the issues, and the potential of the new NCI initiative.