Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.


Nanotherapeutics for cardiovascular disease

Nanotherapies are emerging rapidly as options to treat cardiovascular disease. However, insufficient and heterogeneous delivery remain critical issues. Novel strategies to boost targeted delivery of systemically administered nanoparticles by optimizing the particle physical properties or using immune cells as carriers promise to increase nanotherapeutic effectiveness in cardiovascular and other inflammatory diseases.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Access options

Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.

Fig. 1: Systemic nanoparticle delivery strategies in vivo: free nanoparticles versus an immune cell ‘Trojan horse’.


  1. Fish, M. B. et al. Deformable microparticles for shuttling nanoparticles to the vascular wall. Sci. Adv. 7, eabe0143 (2021).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Huang, S. S. et al. Immune cell shuttle for precise delivery of nanotherapeutics for heart disease and cancer. Sci. Adv. 7, eabf2400 (2021).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Wilhelm, S. et al. Analysis of nanoparticle delivery to tumours. Nat. Rev. Mater. 1, 16014 (2016).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Kanthi, Y., de la Zerda, A. & Smith, B. R. Nanotherapeutic shots through the heart of plaque. ACS Nano 14, 1236–1242 (2020).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Smith, B. R. & Gambhir, S. S. Nanomaterials for in vivo imaging. Chem. Rev. 117, 901–986 (2017).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Smith, B. R. et al. Real-time intravital imaging of RGD-quantum dot binding to luminal endothelium in mouse tumor neovasculature. Nano Lett. 8, 2599–2606 (2008).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Namdee, K., Thompson, A. J., Charoenphol, P. & Eniola-Adefeso, O. Margination propensity of vascular-targeted spheres from blood flow in a microfluidic model of human microvessels. Langmuir 29, 2530–2535 (2013).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Smith, B. R. et al. Selective uptake of single walled carbon nanotubes by circulating monocytes for enhanced tumour delivery. Nat. Nanotechnol. 9, 481–487 (2014).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Sofias, A. M. et al. Cyclic arginine–glycine–aspartate-decorated lipid nanoparticle targeting toward inflammatory lesions involves hitchhiking with phagocytes. Adv. Sci. 8, 2100370 (2021).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Flores, A. M. et al. Pro-efferocytic nanoparticles are specifically taken up by lesional macrophages and prevent atherosclerosis. Nat. Nanotechnol. 15, 154–161 (2020).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references


The author is grateful to the funding agencies AHA Transformational Project Award 18TPA34230113 and NIH grant R01 CA244491, and to Y. Zhang (MSU, USA) for initial figure preparation and A. Alessio for discussion (MSU, USA).

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Bryan Ronain Smith.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The author declares no competing interests.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Smith, B.R. Nanotherapeutics for cardiovascular disease. Nat Rev Cardiol 18, 617–618 (2021).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing