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Minerva Medica 2015 February;106(1):17-33

language: English

Role of nanotechnology in development of artificial organs

Teoh G. Z. 1, Klanrit P. 1, Kasimatis M. 1, Seifalian A. M. 1, 2

1 UCL Centre for Nanotechnology and Regenerative Medicine, Division of Surgery and Interventional Science, University College London, London, UK;
2 Royal Free London NHS Foundation, Trust Hospital, London, UK


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Improvements in our understanding of the interactions between implants and cells have directed attention towards nanoscale technologies. To date, nanotechnology has played a helping hand in the development of synthetic artificial organs and regenerative medicine. This includes the production of smart nanocomposite materials; fluorescent nanoparticles like Quantum Dots (QD) and magnetic nano particles (MNP) for stem cell tracking; and carbon nanotubes (CNT) and graphene for enhancement of material properties. The scope of this paper includes the role of nanoparticles in the development of nanomaterials; the chemical surface modifications possible to improve implant function and an overview of the performance of nano-engineered organs thus far. This includes implants developed for aesthetic purposes like nasal and auricular scaffolds, plastic and reconstructive surgical constructs (i.e. dermal grafts), hollow organs for cardiothoracic applications; and last but not least, orthopedic implants. The five-year outlook for nano-enhanced artificial organs is also discussed, highlighting the key research and development areas, available funds and the hurdles we face in accomplishing progression from prototypes on the laboratory bench to off-the-shelf products for the consumer market. Ultimately, this review aims to delineate the advantages of incorporating nanotechnology, as an individual entity or as a part of a construct for the development of tissue engineering scaffolds and/or artificial organs, and unravel the mechanisms of tissue cell-biomaterial interactions at the nanoscale, allowing for better progress in the development and optimization of unique nanoscale surface features for a wide range of applications.

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a.seifalian@ucl.ac.uk