Interactions of nanomaterials and biological systems: Implications to personalized nanomedicine

Xue Qing Zhang, Xiaoyang Xu, Nicolas Bertrand, Eric Pridgen, Archana Swami, Omid C. Farokhzad

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

377 Scopus citations


The application of nanotechnology to personalized medicine provides an unprecedented opportunity to improve the treatment of many diseases. Nanomaterials offer several advantages as therapeutic and diagnostic tools due to design flexibility, small sizes, large surface-to-volume ratio, and ease of surface modification with multivalent ligands to increase avidity for target molecules. Nanomaterials can be engineered to interact with specific biological components, allowing them to benefit from the insights provided by personalized medicine techniques. To tailor these interactions, a comprehensive knowledge of how nanomaterials interact with biological systems is critical. Herein, we discuss how the interactions of nanomaterials with biological systems can guide their design for diagnostic, imaging and drug delivery purposes. A general overview of nanomaterials under investigation is provided with an emphasis on systems that have reached clinical trials. Finally, considerations for the development of personalized nanomedicines are summarized such as the potential toxicity, scientific and technical challenges in fabricating them, and regulatory and ethical issues raised by the utilization of nanomaterials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1363-1384
Number of pages22
JournalAdvanced Drug Delivery Reviews
Issue number13
StatePublished - Oct 2012
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pharmaceutical Science


  • In vivo imaging
  • Molecular diagnostic
  • Nanomaterials
  • Nanoparticles
  • Nanotechnology
  • Personalized nanomedicine
  • Protein binding
  • Receptor-mediated endocytosis
  • Targeted delivery


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