Friday morning October 31, nanoHUB tools and home directories will be unavailable from 6 AM to noon (eastern time); we're getting a new file server! All tool sessions will be lost. Also, the web site will be unavailable for about 15 minutes sometime between 8-9 AM. close


Support Options

Submit a Support Ticket


BME 695L Lecture 13: Designing Nanomedical Systems (NMS) for In-vivo Use

By James Leary

Biomedical Engineering, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN

Published on


See references below for related reading.

13.1      Bringing in-vivo considerations into NMS design
13.1.1    the in-vitro to ex-vivo to in-vivo paradigm In-vitro - importance of choosing suitable cell lines adding the complexity of in-vivo background while keeping the simplicity of in-vitro all the complexity of ex-vivo plus the “active” components of a real animal
13.1.2    In-vivo systems are open, “active” systems with multiple layers of complexity In-vitro and ex-vivo are mostly “closed” systems, but not absolutely What is an “open” system? Attempts to isolate open systems
13.1.3    Layers of complexity of in-vivo systems Human cells in nude mice – a mixture of in-vitro and in-vivo “Model” small animal systems better model larger animal systems

13.2      Circulation time and biodistribution
13.2.1    factors affecting circulation time size/shape "stealth layer" coating zeta potential in-vivo in varying environments filtration and excretion dose/targeting
13.2.2    where do the NMS go in-vivo? checking the obvious organs (liver, spleen, kidney, blood…) finding NMS in tissues and organs
    within dissected tissue sections
    in blood (ex-vivo versus in-vivo flow cytometry)
    what is excreted?
13.2.3    Circulation time and dose optimization measure drug concentration over time is there an optimal drug dose?

13.4      In-vivo targeting and mistargeting
13.4.1    mode of administration (intravenous, oral, intra-tumor…)
13.4.2    how can we assess targeting in-vivo? (MRI, fluorescence, …)
13.4.3    a rare-cell targeting problem
13.4.4    consequences of mistargeting
13.4.5    balancing dosing, therapeutic efficacy, and consequences of mistargeting

13.5      Evaluating therapeutic efficacy in-vivo
13.5.1    advantages of non-invasive measurements
13.5.2    measures of tumor load/shrinkage (tumor size, weight,..)
13.5.3    other measures of disease effects direct measurement of restoration of lost or compromised functions indirect measures of disease effects (e.g. behavior, weight gain/loss, .)
13.5.4    Some examples of in-vivo work with NMS

13.6      Summary
13.6.1    Choosing an appropriate animal model and getting it approved takes time!
13.6.2    Animal experiments are expensive and time-consuming
13.6.3    Performing in-vivo measurements of drug delivery and therapeutic efficacy are more challenging and expensive than in-vitro or ex-vivo work!
13.6.4    But ultimately you must show that the NMS works in-vivo


Copyright © 2011, James F. Leary, All rights reserved.


Bhirde, A.A., Patel, V., Gavard, J., Zhang, G., Sousa, A.A., Masedunskas, A., Leapman, R.D., Weigert, R., Gutkind, J.S., Rusling, J.F. "Targeted Killing of Cancer Cells in Vivo and in Vitro with EGF-Directed Carbon Nanotube-Based Drug Delivery". ACS Nano 3(2) 307-316 (2009).
Cartier, R., Kaufner, L., Paulke, B.R., Wustneck, R., Pietschmann, S., Michel, R., Bruhn, H., Pison, U. "Latex nanoparticles for multimodal imaging and detection in vivo". Nanotechnology 18:195102 – 195113 (2007).
Chenga, J., Teply, B.A., Sherifia, I., Sunga, J., Luthera, G., Gua, F.X., Levy-Nissenbauma, E., Radovic-Morenob, A.F., Langer, R., Farokhzad, O.C. "Formulation of functionalized PLGA–PEG nanoparticles for in vivo targeted drug delivery". Biomaterials 28: 869–876 (2007). (Full text available at
Farokhzad, O.C., Cheng, J., Teply, B.A., Sherifi, I., Jon, S., Kantoff, P.W., Richie, J.P., Langer, R. "Targeted nanoparticle-aptamer bioconjugates for cancer chemotherapy in vivo". PNAS 103(6): 6313–6320 (2006).
Hou, C-H, Hou, S-M, Hsueh, Y-S, Lin, J., Wu, H-C, Lin, F-H "The in vivo performance of biomagnetic hydroxyapatite nanoparticles in cancer hyperthermia therapy". Biomaterials 30: 3956–3960 (2009). (Full text available at

Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  • James Leary (2011), "BME 695L Lecture 13: Designing Nanomedical Systems (NMS) for In-vivo Use,"

    BibTex | EndNote



1083 BME, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN

Tags, a resource for nanoscience and nanotechnology, is supported by the National Science Foundation and other funding agencies. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.