Gianni Ciofani1 2

1, Politecnico di Torino, Torino, Torino, Italy
2, Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, Pontedera, Pisa, Italy

The modulation of biological activities by non-invasive remote manipulation is object of intense research efforts that, in the latest years, led to the development of different stimulation approaches. For instance, magnetic fields, ultrasounds, heating, electric fields, and light irradiation can be used in combination with smart nanomaterials, that are thus exploited as real “nanotransducers” [1].
A new rationale in nanomedicine is emerging, consisting in the exploitation of the intrinsic properties of nanoparticles as active devices rather than as passive structural vectors for medications. According to this paradigm, the nanomaterial itself becomes the active "smart" device that responds to external stimuli by modifying its intrinsic chemical and/or physical characteristics, and that provides useful bio-stimulation and/or bio-signaling.
In this talk, piezoelectric nanomaterials and their applications in the nanomedicine field will be introduced, with particular attention to tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. Despite their impressive potentials, in fact, this kind of nanostructures has not yet received significant attention for bio-applications. Our results suggest that the exploitation of piezoelectric nanoparticles in nanomedicine is possible and realistic, and their impressive physical properties can be most useful for several applications, that range from sensors and transducers for the detection of biomolecules, to “sensible” substrates for tissue engineering or cell stimulation [2-3].
After a short introduction to the major classes of innovative piezoelectric nanoparticles that have gained interest in the recent years, attention will be focused on the research carried out in our laboratories, introducing barium titanate nanoparticles, boron nitride nanotubes, and polymeric composites based on these nanomaterials [2-6].

[1] Genchi G.G., […], Ciofani G. Advanced Healthcare Materials, 6(9): 1700002 (2017)
[2] Marino A., […], Ciofani G. ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces, 9(21): 17663-17680 (2017)
[3] Marino A., […], Ciofani G. Nano Today, 14: 9-12 (2017)
[4] Genchi G.G., […], Ciofani G. Advanced Healthcare Materials, 5(14): 1808-1820 (2016)
[5] Genchi G.G., […], Ciofani G. Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology and Medicine, 10.1016/j.nano.2017.05.006
[6] Marino A., […], Ciofani G. ACS Nano, 9(7): 7678-7689 (2015)

This research is partially supported by the Compagnia di San Paolo Starting Grant Number 55_AI16GC01.