Nanomedicine: Ushering in a new era of pain management

Michael Sprintz, Ennio Tasciotti, Massimo Allegri, Alessandro Grattoni, Larry C. Driver, Mauro Ferrari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Pain, be it acute, chronic, or any permutation thereof, is a universal problem affecting greater than 1.5. billion people worldwide, with over 116. million in the US, and over 164 million people in Europe and Israel combined. The economic cost to society is staggering, estimated around $560-635. billion annually in the US alone for direct medical treatment costs and lost productivity. Additional complications may include over-prescribing of opiates and other potentially habit-forming substances with life-threatening side effects, as well as drug diversion and the social problems associated with substance abuse and addiction, such as illegal " pill mills," which contributed to the approximate 600% increase in opioid prescribing in the United States from 1997 to 2007, and a 300% increase in the number of deaths related to prescription opioids.However, the greatest cost of pain rests on the individual who, in addition to his or her pain, is fraught with anxiety, depression, sleep disturbances, and deteriorating interpersonal relationships, resulting in a severely diminished quality of life. While efforts are continuing to unlock the environmental and intrinsic causes and contributors to pain, there are still a great number of unmet needs throughout the realm of pain management, including imaging, drug monitoring, objective pain assessment tools, and of course, therapeutic interventions.As the technological revolution of 21st century medicine continues its ascent, nanomedicine offers unprecedented opportunities in the development of novel pain assessment, diagnostic, and therapeutic delivery mechanisms that will address many of the global unmet needs in pain management, and change the frowning face of pain to a smile of relief. Successful integration of nanomedicine into the clinical milieu requires multi- and interdisciplinary collaboration from every facet, including healthcare professionals, engineers, scientists and researchers, government and regulatory agencies as well as academia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)317-322
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Pain Supplements
Issue number2
StatePublished - Nov 2011


  • Chronic pain
  • Drug delivery
  • Nanochannel
  • Nanomedicine
  • Nanoparticle
  • Nerve repair
  • Pain
  • Regeneration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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