Researchers and industrial groups propose that advances in nanotechnology offer opportunities for developing effective cancer diagnosis and treatments. Polymeric nanoparticles, liposomes, micelles, nanogels, dendrimers – these are all tools used by academic and industrial researchers in the war against cancer, as well as nano particles such as gold or silver with drugs such as Herceptin decorated on their surfaces. However, researchers agree that liposomes, the first drug carrying nano carrier to reach cancer clinics, are some of the most advanced cancer related nano devices. For this reason, this strand of the online debate will focus on liposomes in cancer diagnosis and treatment.
Although researchers maintain that liposomal based drug delivery system will prove especially effective for future cancer diagnosis and treatment, they recognize that this assumption is shaped, to a great extent, by researchers’ unique frame of reference or mindset, which may be different from the mindsets of other stakeholders. We need to engage and learn from these diverse mindsets by improving communication between nano researchers and their stakeholders. A dialogue between nano researchers and their diverse stakeholders may prove to be the best way of optimizing the potential benefits of liposomal drug or imaging agent delivery systems. Indeed, dialogue may lead to co-creation of new knowledge, and discovery of unique pathways that may lead to novel discoveries and inventions. This cancer nanotechnology thematic strand has been designed to further such a dialogue.
Key questions that could be explored in this online discussion include:
1) Where are we now in cancer diagnosis and treatment?
2) How could advances in liposomal R&D revolutionalize or change cancer diagnosis and treatment?
3) In the promotional efforts of nano researchers, how can we tell the realistic from the unrealistic visions in describing the future benefits to cancer research from these technologies?
4) What safety concerns are raised by liposomal drug delivery systems?
5) What alternative cancer related research pathways are articulated by other networks of scientific, biomedical, and other patients’ advocacy groups?
6) What are diverse stakeholders’ perceptions or opinions about liposomal drug delivery systems?