Nanotechnology Characterization Laboratory Skip Navigation

Cancer Nanotechnology Plan (CaNanoPlan)

To help meet the goal of eliminating death and suffering due to cancer, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) is engaged in a concerted effort to harness the power of nanotechnology to radically change the way we diagnose, treat, and prevent cancer. Using inputs from clinicians, cancer researchers, and technologists, the NCI has developed the Cancer Nanotechnology Plan (CaNanoPlan) to meet these goals. The CaNanoPlan lays out a pathway and a set of mechanisms to facilitate nanotechnology becoming a fundamental driver of advances in cancer research.

During its development and due diligence of the CaNanoPlan, NCI noted a widespread interest among cancer researchers in overcoming significant obstacles in order to transition nanotechnology to clinical application. These obstacles centered around three common themes:

  • Lack of available reference data to compare results from various laboratories.
  • Need for "first principles" of understanding about nanomaterials' interactions with biological systems.
  • Undefined clinical development pathways for nanomaterials intended as cancer therapeutics and diagnostics.

To address and overcome these barriers, the NCI established the Nanotechnology Characterization Laboratory (NCL) at its NCI-Frederick facility. The charter of the NCL is to perform the pre-clinical characterization of nanomaterials and to facilitate the development of nanomaterials intended for clinical use. Focused development and pre-clinical testing of new technologies by the NCL will facilitate entry of these products into clinical trials, and this will directly affect the number of new diagnostic and treatment strategies that reach the market, i.e., new drug approval.


Figure 1


NCL resources and activities will be prioritized to influence, inform, and accelerate the research and pre-clinical test phases for drug and device development, as shown in the timeline diagram in Figure 1. The NCL’s focus on the translational phase offers a supportive method for introducing and evaluating new mechanisms for accelerating test phases, improving and defining methods, and introducing novel nanotechnology strategies into clinical trials.

Download the PDF to learn more about the CaNanoPlan.

  Cancer Nanotechnology Plan
  November 2010
  (file size: 3 mb)

National Cancer InstituteDepartment of Health and Human ServicesNational Institutes of HealthFirstGov.govNCI - Alliance for Nanotechnology in Cancer
National Cancer Institute U.S. National Institutes of Health Nanotechnology Characterization Lab