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by Editor1 last modified October 28, 2006 - 13:35

The application of nanomaterials for medical diagnosis, treatment of failing organ systems, or prevention and cure of human diseases can generally be referred to as nanomedicine.

Chapter 22 Nanotechnology and Biomaterials
J. Brock Thomas, Nicholas A. Peppas, Michiko Sato, and Thomas J. Webster

Encyclopedia of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
Richard Silberglitt
Chapter 171: Nanomaterials: New Trends


Recent bionanomaterials studies aimed at biomedical applications include the development of nanomaterials linking radioactive atoms to monoclonal antibodies for tumor-specific radiation therapy and the incorporation of nanoparticles into cement used for orthopedic implants to reduce inflammatory reaction. Several university centers in the United States and Europe are focused on biomedical applications such as diagnostics, drug delivery, and implants and prostheses, including work on dendrimers, nanomembranes, and biologically driven motors.


Nanoscale Technology in Biological Systems
Ralph S. Greco
Chapter 16: Nanobiology in Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery by Theo Kofidis and Robert C. Robbins

Atherosclerosis, ischemic heart disease, and heart failure constitute vast fields for the integration of new technologies. Although nanobiology and nanotechnology have not been integrated in the clinical practice in cardiology or cardiac surgery to date, they hold great promise for advanced future applications that will reshape cardiovascular medicine.

The main domain for nanobiology in cardiology is expected to be interventional drug delivery and the promotion of angiogenesis for the salvage of ischemic tissue. Cardiac surgery will primarily benefit from this advancing technology through applications in tissue engineering and tissue- or cell transfer.


However, there is a plethora of pathological entities in contemporary clinical practice that might constitute an immediate field of action for novel nanotechnological applications. These should be subdivided into diagnostic applications and therapeutic applications. Novel diagnostic modalities, based upon nanotechnological accomplishments, will help identify emerging disease processes at a very early stage, accurately capture the pathological process in the three-dimensional space within the affected structure, and help guide specific therapeutic applications.

The spectrum of cardiovascular pathologies, which may derive enormous therapeutical benefit from the new discoveries in the sector of nanobiology and nanotechnology, includes ischemia, reperfusion-associated conditions, organ undersupply with nutrients and oxygen, acute cardiovascular trauma and wound healing, and atherosclerosis and its hemodynamic consequences.


J. Brock Thomas, Nicholas A. Peppas, Michiko Sato, and Thomas J. Webster
Chapter 22 Nanotechnology and Biomaterials

Since nature itself exists in the nanometer regime, especially tissues in the human body, it is clear that nanotechnology can play an integral role in tissue regeneration. Specifically, bone is composed of numerous nanostructures — like collagen and hydroxyapatite (HA) that, most importantly, provide a unique nanostructure for protein and bone cell interactions in the body. Although the ability to mimic constituent components of bone is novel in itself, there are additional reasons to consider nanomaterials for tissue regeneration such as in orthopedic applications: their special surface properties compared to conventional (or micron constituent component structured) materials.

For example, a nanomaterial has increased numbers of atoms at the surface, grain boundaries or material defects at the surface, surface area, and altered electron distributions compared to conventional materials. In summary, nanophase material surfaces are more reactive than their conventional counterparts. In this light, it is clear that proteins which influence cell interactions that lead to tissue regeneration will be quite different on nanophase compared with conventional implant surfaces.


Polymer nanoparticle and nanosphere carriers are very attractive for biomedical and pharmaceutical applications, due to their unique and tailorable properties. In the case of polymer networks, the release profile can be precisely controlled through the design of its molecular structure, such as degree of cross-linking and ionic characteristics of the pendent functional groups.
Polymer nanospheres have been molecularly designed to be responsive to the pH of their environment, enabling the protection of fragile therapeutic peptides and proteins in the harsh, acidic stomach environment and then releasing them in the more amiable environment of the upper small intestine. In addition, nanoparticle carriers have been designed to have stealth properties, allowing extended residence time without being recognized by the immune system. In other efforts, synthetic delivery systems, including polymeric nanoparticles, have been developed for application in gene delivery. By creating polymer drug delivery systems that are biodegradable, the need for removal of the system postdelivery is eliminated, since the polymer can be naturally resorbed by the body. Also, a number of companies are reformulating insoluble drugs as nanoparticles and nanocrystals to control uptake through cellular membranes.