Recent Advances in Targeted, Self-Assembling Nanoparticles to Address Vascular Damage Due to Atherosclerosis

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Self-assembling nanoparticles functionalized with targeting moieties have significant potential for atherosclerosis nanomedicine. While self-assembly allows the easy construction (and degradation) of nanoparticles with therapeutic or diagnostic functionality, or both, the targeting agent can direct them to a specific molecular marker within a given stage of the disease. Therefore, supramolecular nanoparticles have been investigated in the last decade as molecular imaging agents or explored as nanocarriers that can decrease the systemic toxicity of drugs by producing accumulation predominantly in specific tissues of interest. In this Progress Report, the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis and the damage caused to vascular tissue are described, as well as the current diagnostic and treatment options. An overview of targeted strategies using self-assembling nanoparticles is provided, including liposomes, high density lipoproteins, protein cages, micelles, proticles, and perfluorocarbon nanoparticles. Finally, an overview is given of current challenges, limitations, and future applications for personalized medicine in the context of atherosclerosis of self-assembling nanoparticles.

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