Nanomedicine: Drug Delivery, Tissue Engineering, and Nanosurgery
Department of Nanotechnology – University of Kansas
17 May 2007
The study, manipulation, and engineering of devices and structures less than 100 nanometers
have become known as nanotechnology.
As particles become nano-sized, they exhibit unique
chemical, biological, electrical, and mechanical properties unlike their normal macroscopic state.
Scientists of engineering, electronics, physics, chemistry, and biology are collaborating to
discover a wide variety of applications of nanotechnology.
Recently, much attention has been
devoted toward using nanotechnology to improve health care, and the medical application of
nanotechnology has become known as nanomedicine.
In the near future, nanotechnology will
revolutionize health care, as nanomedicine has the potential to cure diseases and repair tissues by
manipulating individual cells at the molecular level.
Three important aspects of nanomedicine—
drug delivery, tissue engineering, and nanosurgery—are being studied with intense
This paper reviews current nanomedicine advances in these three areas along
with citing potential applications for the future.
The limitations of current drug-delivering systems include suboptimal bioavailability, limited
effective targeting, potential cytotoxicity, and long, frequent treatments are often required.
Nano-scale drug-delivery devices called nanocarriers overcome these limitations.
are also able to maximize therapeutic activity while minimizing toxic side effects  and target
specific cells rather than tissues because their unique properties allow for easy surface
Functional groups may be placed on the nanocarrier to increase or decrease
solubility , increase immunocompatibility , encourage cellular uptake, and determine the
drug’s final destination.
The nano-size character of the nanocarrier also allows for easy
penetration of cellular membranes, including the blood brain barrier of the central nervous
There are several different types of nanocarriers being used as drug-delivery
devices: polymeric micelles, liposomes, and dendrimers (Fig. 1).
A polymeric micelle is a spherical conglomeration of amphiphilic molecules, such as cholesterol.
In an aqueous environment, the molecules form a tight ball with the hydrophobic groups on the
inside and the hydrophilic groups on the outside (Fig 1B).
The reverse occurs in a non-aqueous
Micelles ranging from 50 nm to 220 nm , , encapsulate non-water soluble
drugs to be administered intravenously .