A basic understanding of some biology is necessary to understand the relationship between nanotherapy and cancer. The events that cause cancer happen at a molecular level. A cell is made of molecules and a molecule is made of atoms. Cells communicate with each other by chemical signals. When this communication is damaged, diseases like cancer can occur.
Nanotherapy is medicine on a very small scale or molecular level. It uses “nanoscale” materials and devices that range from approximately one to 100 nanometers. One nanometer is one millionth of a millimeter.
Some nanoscale devices (i.e. those smaller than 50 nm) can enter cells and deliver chemotherapy to the cancer like a smart bomb. Nanotherapy is being used for the basis of more effective drug delivery systems but it also has the potential to improve cancer detection and diagnosis.