What Are the Applications of Nanomedicine?

Nanomedicine is an area of medical applications that focuses on the use of nanotechnology for the diagnosis of diseases, delivery of drugs, and repair of damaged tissues in patients.

The materials that are used by this technology are named nanomaterials due to their size which is within the nanometer range.

1. What Is a Nanomaterial?

Nanomaterials are chemically synthesized or assembled products that have sizes that are within the nanometer ranges, and which include dendrimers, liposomes, metal nanoparticles, nanocrystals, nanosuspensions, polymer nanoparticles, block copolymer micelles, and polymer therapeutics.

A. What is a Dendrimer?

Dendrimers are chemical structures that are generated by a repetitive assembly of molecules leading to the formation of a molecule with a central core, a network of branched molecules, and terminal functional groups at the surface responsible for the spherical form of dendrimers [1]. Dendrimers can be conjugated with drugs and detecting agents for delivery to tissues within the body.

B. What is a Liposome?

Liposomes are chemically engineered spheres that contain at least one phospholipid layer. They are usually obtained by dispersing phospholipids in water which creates vesicles named liposomes. Once loaded with drugs or DNA, liposomes can cross cellular membranes and deliver their load within the cells [2].

C. What Is a Metal Nanoparticle?

Metal nanoparticles are structures that are made of a metal core that is covered by inorganic or organic materials. Metal elements that are used in the production of metal nanoparticles include gold, aluminum, iron, silica, silver, copper, zinc, manganese, nickel, cerium, and titanium [3].

D. What Are Nanocrystals?

Nanocrystals are generated by the micronization and size homogenization of crystals into nanomer-sized particles. They are formed by a crystalline core and a stabilizer layer made of agents such as sodium lauryl sulfate, polyvinyl pyrrolidone K30, pluronics F68 and F127, Tween 80, hydrophobin, or hydroxypropyl methylcellulose.

Nanocrystals have been used in drug delivery to improve the dissolution properties of poorly soluble drug materials [4].

E. What Are Nanosuspensions?

Nanosuspensions are solid drug nanoparticles that are suspended in an aqueous vehicle to facilitate their water solubility and stability. These solid drugs may have poor aqueous solubility which affects their therapeutic efficacy and increases their toxicity [5].

F- What Are Polymer Nanoparticles?

Polymer nanoparticles are chemically synthesized molecules through the assembly and bonding of repeated chemical subunits. They are specifically made to overcome challenges associated with a carrier system such as biocompatibility, biodistribution, side-effects, and biological barriers [6]. 

G. What Are Block Copolymer Micelles?

Block Copolymer Micelles are self-assembled chemical molecules made of oppositely charged copolymers in an aqueous or organic solution. They are constituted of hydrophytic heads on the outside and hydrophobic tails on the inside. They are used as carriers for drug delivery and gene targeting [7].

H. What Are Polymer Therapeutics?

Polymer therapeutics are water-soluble polymers that are conjugated to proteins, micelles, or drugs to generate complex drugs such as polymer-protein conjugates, polymer-micelles conjugates, or polymer-drugs conjugates, respectively.

Due to their enhanced water solubility of the conjugated and reduced toxicity, polymer therapeutics are used for multi-drug delivery and wound healing applications [8].

2. What Are the Applications of Nanomedicine?

A. Nanomedicine Applications in Diagnosis

Due to their capacity for conjugation to dyes, proteins (e.g., ligands), and imaging agents, nanoparticles are used for early and accurate diagnosis and monitoring of patients via direct imaging of the tissue of patients (in vivo) or by running tests on samples from patients (in vitro) [9].

Imaging of Tissues and Organs of Patients

To enhance the contrast of structures and fluids within the body of patients, nanoparticle-based contrast agents are successfully used for imaging technologies such as MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging), PET (Position Emission Tomography) scan, CT (computed tomography), PAT (Photoacoustic tomography), Raman spectroscopic imaging, and multimodal imaging [10].

Diagnostic Tests Using Nanoparticles

Nanoparticles are used to produce in vitro diagnostic devices or biosensors that are used to detect and potentially measure biological reactions such as antibody binding to an antigen, nucleic acids hybridization, or ligand binding to the surface of cells [10].

B. Nanomedicine Applications in Therapy

Nanoparticles are mainly used for the delivery of drugs to patients through oral or skin applications, or by injection. For instance, the liposome product Doxil® is used to deliver the chemotherapeutic drug Doxorubicin to tumors with reduced toxicity for the heart and kidneys [11].

For the treatment of metastatic breast cancer and non-small-cell lung cancer, the polymer mPEG-PLA is being used for the delivery of the chemotherapeutic drug Paclitaxel [12][13]. Gold nanoparticles that bind to cancer cells can be used to tag these cells for irradiation by infrared laser leading to their death [14].

3. Frequently Asked Questions about What Are the Applications of Nanomedicine?

What is nanomedicine?

Nanomedicine is a field of medical science that utilizes nanotechnology for diagnosis, treatment, and monitoring of diseases at the molecular level. It involves the application of nanoscale materials and devices to address medical challenges.

What are the applications of nanomedicine?

Nanomedicine has diverse applications in various areas of healthcare, including drug delivery, imaging, diagnostics, regenerative medicine, and personalized medicine.

How does nanomedicine improve drug delivery?

Nanoparticles can be designed to encapsulate drugs and deliver them to specific target sites in the body, enhancing drug efficacy while minimizing side effects. They can also improve the bioavailability and stability of drugs.

Can nanomedicine be used for cancer treatment?

Yes, nanomedicine holds great promise for cancer therapy. Nanoparticles can be engineered to selectively target cancer cells, deliver chemotherapeutic agents directly to tumors, and enhance imaging for early detection and monitoring of cancer progression.

What role does nanomedicine play in diagnostics?

Nanotechnology enables the development of highly sensitive diagnostic tools, such as biosensors and imaging agents, for early detection of diseases. These nanoscale devices can detect biomarkers at very low concentrations, allowing for early intervention and treatment.

How does nanomedicine contribute to regenerative medicine?

Nanomaterials can mimic the extracellular matrix and provide scaffolds for tissue regeneration. They can also deliver growth factors and therapeutic molecules to promote tissue repair and regeneration in conditions such as wound healing and tissue engineering.

Is nanomedicine used in personalized medicine?

Yes, nanotechnology plays a crucial role in personalized medicine by enabling targeted therapies tailored to individual patient characteristics. Nanoparticles can deliver drugs based on specific genetic markers or biomarkers, leading to more effective and personalized treatment strategies.

What are some challenges in the development of nanomedicine?

Challenges include ensuring the safety and biocompatibility of nanomaterials, optimizing their pharmacokinetics and biodistribution, and scaling up production methods. Regulatory considerations and ethical implications also need to be addressed for the widespread adoption of nanomedicine.

Are there any approved nanomedicine products on the market?

Yes, there are several nanomedicine products approved for clinical use, including nanoparticle-based drug delivery systems, imaging agents, and medical devices.

Examples include Abraxane (nanoparticle albumin-bound paclitaxel) for cancer treatment and Feraheme (ferumoxytol) for iron deficiency anemia.


Nanomedicine is a relatively new medical application that already has significant impacts on the diagnosis and drugs delivered to patients. Although it is still a domain of science fiction, some scientists suggest the futuristic possibility of creating nanorobots that can repair or detect damages and infections.


[1] Duncan, R. and Izzo, L., 2005. Dendrimer biocompatibility and toxicity. Advanced drug delivery reviews57(15), pp.2215-2237.

[2] Akbarzadeh, A., Rezaei-Sadabady, R., Davaran, S., Joo, S.W., Zarghami, N., Hanifehpour, Y., Samiei, M., Kouhi, M. and Nejati-Koshki, K., 2013. Liposome: classification, preparation, and applications. Nanoscale research letters8(1), pp.1-9.

[3] Schrand, A.M., Rahman, M.F., Hussain, S.M., Schlager, J.J., Smith, D.A. and Syed, A.F., 2010. Metal‐based nanoparticles and their toxicity assessment. Wiley interdisciplinary reviews: Nanomedicine and Nanobiotechnology2(5), pp.544-568.

[4] Tuomela, A., Hirvonen, J. and Peltonen, L., 2016. Stabilizing agents for drug nanocrystals: effect on bioavailability. Pharmaceutics8(2), p.16.

[5] Pawar, S.S., Dahifale, B.R., Nagargoje, S.P. and Shendge, R.S., 2017. Nanosuspension technologies for delivery of drugs. J Nanosci Nanotechnol4, pp.59-66.

[6] Daglar, B., Ozgur, E., Corman, M.E., Uzun, L. and Demirel, G.B., 2014. Polymeric nanocarriers for expected nanomedicine: current challenges and future prospects. RSC Advances4(89), pp.48639-48659.

[7] Kataoka, K., Harada, A. and Nagasaki, Y., 2001. Block copolymer micelles for drug delivery: design, characterization and biological significance. Advanced drug delivery reviews47(1), pp.113-131.

[8] Aderibigbe, B.A. and Mukaya, H.E., 2017. Polymer Therapeutics: Design, Application, and Pharmacokinetics. In Nano-and Microscale Drug Delivery Systems (pp. 33-48). Elsevier.

[9] Murthy, S.K., 2007. Nanoparticles in modern medicine: state of the art and future challenges. International journal of nanomedicine2(2), p.129.

[10] Sim, S. and Wong, N.K., 2021. Nanotechnology and its use in imaging and drug delivery. Biomedical reports14(5), pp.1-9.

[11] Barenholz, Y.C., 2012. Doxil®—the first FDA-approved nano-drug: lessons learned. Journal of controlled release160(2), pp.117-134.

[12] Shi, M., Gu, A., Tu, H., Huang, C., Wang, H., Yu, Z., Wang, X., Cao, L., Shu, Y., Yang, R. and Li, X., 2021. Comparing nanoparticle polymeric micellar paclitaxel and solvent-based paclitaxel as first-line treatment of advanced non-small-cell lung cancer: an open-label, randomized, multicenter, phase III trial. Annals of Oncology32(1), pp.85-96.

[13] Lee, K.S., Chung, H.C., Im, S.A., Park, Y.H., Kim, C.S., Kim, S.B., Rha, S.Y., Lee, M.Y. and Ro, J., 2008. Multicenter phase II trial of Genexol-PM, a Cremophor-free, polymeric micelle formulation of paclitaxel, in patients with metastatic breast cancer. Breast cancer research and treatment108(2), pp.241-250.[14] Amendoeira, A., García, L.R., Fernandes, A.R. and Baptista, P.V., 2020. Light irradiation of gold nanoparticles toward advanced cancer therapeutics. Advanced Therapeutics3(1), p.1900153.

Similar Posts