Nanoscale Particle Therapies for Wounds and Ulcers

Roberta Cortivo; Vincenzo Vindigni; Laura Iacobellis; Giovanni Abatangelo; Paolo Pinton; Barbara Zavan


Nanomedicine. 2010;5(4):641-656. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


'Small is beautiful' – this should be the slogan of nanoscientists. Indeed, working with particles less than 100 nm in size, nanotechnology is on the verge of providing a host of new materials and approaches, revolutionizing applied medicine. The obvious potential of nanotechnology has attracted considerable investment from governments and industry hoping to drive its economic development. Several areas of medical care already benefit from the advantages that nanotechnology provides and its application in wound healing will be reviewed in this article.


Wound healing in normal hosts follows an orderly biological process involving several cellular and molecular events that are traditionally organized into three main phases. The purpose of this article is to describe current nanoparticle therapies for wound and ulcer healing, taking into account the nature of the material, the biological event in which they are involved and the biostrategies on which its application is based.

Nanobiotechnology has arisen from the convergence of engineering and molecular biology, leading to the development of structures, devices and systems in the atomic, molecular or macromolecular size range.[1] The potential of nanotechnology has been well known since 1959, when Nobel Laureate Richard Feynman predicted the emergence of a new science that deals with structures on a scale of 1–100 nm. While currently the nanoscale reaches the µm level, the true promise of nanotechnology lies in the ability to manipulate materials on the same unimaginably small scale used by nature.[2] Nanomedicine involves the cutting-edge combination of nanotechnology with medicine.

Several advantages are offered by small size, such as the ability to enter into the cytoplasmic space like Trojan horses, ferrying nanoparticles across cellular barriers and activating specific endocytic and transcytic transport mechanisms.[3,4] The packaging of small-molecule drugs into nanoparticles could improve their bioavailability, biocompatibility and safety profiles[5] as the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of a drug-bearing particle are strongly related to particle size.[6]

The field of wound healing emerges as one of the clinical applications that will most benefit from this fascinating technology. Successful repair of wounds and tissues remains a major healthcare and biomedical challenge in the 21st century. In particular, chronic wounds often lead to loss of functional ability, increased pain and decreased quality of life, and can be a burden on healthcare and health system resources. Advanced healing therapies include biological dressings, skin substitutes, growth factor-based therapies and synthetic acellular matrices, all of which aim to correct irregular and dysfunctional cellular pathways present in chronic wounds.[7]

This article aims to detail the current state of the art of nanotechnology-based therapies for the treatment of wounds and ulcers.


Comments on Medscape are moderated and should be professional in tone and on topic. You must declare any conflicts of interest related to your comments and responses. Please see our Commenting Guide for further information. We reserve the right to remove posts at our sole discretion.
Post as: