Nano-sized objects interact with biological systems in fundamentally novel ways, thereby holding great promise for targeted drug delivery. It has also been suggested they could constitute a hitherto unseen hazard. Numerous experimental studies in the field are taking place. We consider that the nature of the interactions allows a more fundamental theoretical framework to be developed. In particular, we describe the intimate link that develops between nanoparticle uptake and cell population evolution. Explicit analytical results are given and the theory compared to experimental observations.