Background: Atherosclerosis is a chronic inflammatory condition causing very high morbidity and mortality. It is characterized by accumulation of plaques within arteries. Nanomedicine is an emerging field of medicine utilizing nanotechnology for advanced imaging and therapy. Nanomedicine has led to significant developments in the field of cardiovascular diseases, including atherosclerosis. Many nanoformulations have been developed with anti-atherosclerotic effects. Nanomedicine tools have been used in the imaging of atherosclerosis. Various nanocarriers have been employed for successful localization in atherosclerotic lesions. The biggest challenge for such delivery vehicles has been localization to atherosclerosis lesions. Several strategies have been employed to overcome these defects. Strategies have also been developed for stabilization of atherosclerotic lesions.
Conclusion: Nanotechnology is also an important tool for the development of novel biomarkers. At the same time there are also potential limitations. Toxicity, lack of translation from preclinical phase to clinical development, and the inability to address the chronic phase of atherosclerosis are the most important among them. Future toxicity studies shall enlighten us further on this exciting research area.
Keywords: Atherosclerosis, biomarkers, drug delivery systems, imaging, nanomedicine, nanocarriers, nanoparticles, theranostics.