The drugs used to fight cancer often leave patients with painful side effects. In the future, cancer treatments will fight the disease on a much smaller but more powerful scale.
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Melissa Medalie: Valerie Buchanan never thought she'd be one of the 200,000 women a year who get breast cancer. Valerie Buchanan: I think that we're all aware that it could happen to us, but the reality when it does is a different story. Melissa Medalie: She had a double mastectomy and chemotherapy. The grueling battle included side effects like nausea, weight gain and exhaustion. Valerie Buchanan: I guess the scariest part is that what the chemo could do to you. Melissa Medalie: Chemotherapy drugs not only kill cancerous cells, but healthy ones too. Researchers are now developing smarter drugs. Dr. S. Mauri Ferrari: Nanotechnology is a way to provide what we call targeted delivery of those drugs. Melissa Medalie: Dr. Mauri Ferrari is testing a new drug delivery system using nanocarriers, which are 100 times smaller than a strand of hair. They're injected into the blood stream, where they seek out and destroy harmful cells. Dr. S. Mauri Ferrari: What we are trying to do is making sure that every drop of molecule of drug injected into patients makes it to the cancer and none of it gets spilled and does damage in places that it is not supposed to touch. Melissa Medalie: Doctors in Germany use nanotechnology to treat brain tumors and prostate cancer. They inject tiny particles into a tumor. A magnetic field then heats and destroys the cancer. Buchanan is eager for the day when fighting cancer means fewer side effects. Valerie Buchanan: To have the chemotherapy go directly to that location or that surrounding area and not to have to go through your entire body would be wonderful. Melissa Medalie: It's a small wonder that could make a huge difference in the more than 10 million Americans trying to concur cancer. This is Melissa Medalie reporting.
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