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Jason Holliston
Tuesday, August 09, 2005  
Nanotechnology and Cancer

My friends (and especially my fiance) get really sick of hearing me drone on about nanotechnology. They are kind enough not to shut me up too often, but I know I can get, perhaps, a bit too excited about the field and what it means to the future of the treatment of disease. Well, here's something concrete to sink your teeth into (hat tip to Instapundit):

MIT engineers an anti-cancer smart bomb

Imagine a cancer drug that can burrow into a tumor, seal the exits and detonate a lethal dose of anti-cancer toxins, all while leaving healthy cells unscathed.

MIT researchers have designed a nanoparticle to do just that.

The dual-chamber, double-acting, drug-packing "nanocell" proved effective and safe, with prolonged survival, against two distinct forms of cancers-melanoma and Lewis lung cancer-in mice.

Read the whole thing, and you'll begin to understand how incredibly paradigm-shattering nanotech will be in the field of medicine. I've been saying for a while that all indications are that cancer will be effectively cured within 20 years. It will be through a combination of better anti-cancer drugs and a nanotech delivery system, and the above story shows that trajectory quite clearly. Actually, I think I may be a bit pessimistic with that guess, and we might hit it much sooner than that.

Looking past using nanotechnology as a mere delivery system, you can see larger, more far-reaching possibilities. Actual cell repair would be the next big milestone, giving doctors the ability to inject nanobots into your body that would actually repair old, injured, or defective cells. It's going to be an amazing future.

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