Ongoing research into the application of nanotechnology for cancer treatment and diagnosis has demonstrated its advantages within contemporary oncology as well as its intrinsic limitations. The National Cancer Institute publishes the Cancer Nanotechnology Plan every 5 years since 2005. The most recent iteration helped codify the ongoing basic and translational efforts of the field and displayed its breadth with several evolving areas. From merely a technological perspective, this field has seen tremendous growth and success. However, an incomplete understanding of human cancer biology persists relative to the application of nanoscale materials within contemporary oncology. As such, this review presents several evolving areas in cancer nanotechnology in order to identify key clinical and biological challenges that need to be addressed to improve patient outcomes. From this clinical perspective, a sampling of the nano-enabled solutions attempting to overcome barriers faced by traditional therapeutics and diagnostics in the clinical setting are discussed. Finally, a strategic outlook of the future is discussed to highlight the need for next-generation cancer nanotechnology tools designed to address critical gaps in clinical cancer care.
Keywords: Cancer Nanotechnology Plan; National Cancer Institute; alliance; biological barriers; cancer; image-guided surgery; immunotherapy; metastasis; nanotechnology; oncology; radiotherapy.