Nanotechnology for pain management: Current and future therapeutic interventions

Divya Bhansali, Shavonne L. Teng, Caleb S. Lee, Brian L. Schmidt, Nigel W. Bunnett, Kam W. Leong

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Pain is one of the most common medical conditions and affects more Americans than diabetes, heart disease, and cancer combined. Current pain treatments mainly rely on opioid analgesics and remain unsatisfactory. The life-threatening side effects and addictive properties of opioids demand new therapeutic approaches. Nanomedicine may be able to address these challenges as it allows for sensitive and targeted treatments without some of the burdens associated with current clinical pain therapies. This review discusses the physiology of pain, the current landscape of pain treatment, novel targets for pain treatment, and recent and ongoing efforts to effectively treat pain using nanotechnology-based approaches. We highlight advances in nanoparticle-based drug delivery to reduce side effects, gene therapy to tackle the source of pain, and nanomaterials-based scavenging to proactively mediate pain signaling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101223
JournalNano Today
StatePublished - Aug 2021


  • Drug delivery
  • Gene therapy
  • Nanomedicine
  • Pain
  • ROS scavenging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • General Materials Science
  • Pharmaceutical Science


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