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NCI Alliance for Nanotechnology in Cancer

Over many years, the NCI has funded the Alliance Initiative by way of grants and contracts.  The US map depicted here displays locations of all recipient inistitutions by grant mechanism.

Credit: National Cancer Institute

The NCI Alliance for Nanotechnology in Cancer is an integrated, milestone driven, and product oriented program aimed at eliminating the burden of cancer.

Committed to building a community of researchers dedicated to using nanotechnology to advance the fight against cancer, the Alliance is engaged in efforts to harness the power of nanotechnology to radically change the way we diagnose, treat, and prevent cancer. The Alliance works in concert with other NCI advanced technology initiatives to provide the scientific foundation and team science that is required to transform cancer research and care.

Launched in 2004, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Alliance for Nanotechnology in Cancer (Alliance) advanced a number of promising nanotechnologies for the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of cancer in its first five years. This progress led NCI to announce in 2010 and 2015 its continued support of this program with the award of up to five-year, multi-institution grants to generate new preventative, diagnostic and therapeutic approaches to cancer in areas where improvements cannot be realized using existing technologies. The following years of the program aim to:

  • rapidly advance new nanotechnology discoveries and speed their transformation into cancer-relevant applications in clinical practice
  • aid nanoparticle characterization and standardization of characterization methods to enable technology transfer from university laboratories to companies that bring these technologies to patients
  • develop the next-generation of cancer researchers in the area of nanotechnology

The Alliance focused on development and translation of nanotechnology-based techniques and tools for:

  • early disease diagnosis using in vitro (laboratory) assays and devices, and in vivo (live) imaging techniques
  • multifunctional therapeutic solutions
  • techniques for cancer prevention and control

Regardless of their specific area of focus, the Alliance investigators are encouraged to concentrate their efforts on the following tumor types where the disease is characterized by low survival rates: brain, lung, ovary, and pancreas.

The Alliance’s programs foster innovation and collaboration among researchers within and between institutions, as well as across scientific disciplines.

Alliance Programs

  • Centers of Cancer Nanotechnology Excellence (CCNEs)

    The multi-disciplinary CCNE teams are the main venue for the discovery and tool development toward the application of nanotechnology to clinical oncology. Teams are focused on integrated technology solutions and the aggressive development of these solutions from pre-clinical to clinical application.

  • Innovative Research in Cancer Nanotechnology (IRCNs)

    IRCN's enable multidisciplinary, fundamental research in cancer biology and/or oncology through the use of nanotechnology

  • Toward Translation of Nanotechnology Cancer Interventions (TTNCIs)

    TTNCI’s enable the translation of nanotechnology-based cancer interventions relying on next-generation nanoparticle formulations and/or nano-devices. The TTNCI initiative encourages applications for advanced pre-clinical research, supporting translation of nanotechnology-based cancer diagnostics and therapeutics.

Alliance Resources

  • Data Sharing

    A well-organized, collaborative system of data sharing is critical in the translation of nanotechnology research into commercially viable therapeutics and diagnostics to treat patients.

  • Publications and Presentations

    The Nanodelivery Systems and Devices Branch routinely publishes reports, strategic peer-reviewed manuscripts, and subject matter expertise papers relative to our myriad of interdisciplinary backgrounds. These papers are listed on this page.