Biomedical nanotechnology is an evolving field having enormous potential to positively impact the health care system. Important biomedical applications of nanotechnology that may have potential clinical applications include targeted drug delivery, detection/diagnosis and imaging. Basic understanding of how nanomaterials, the building blocks of nanotechnology, interact with the cells and their biological consequences are beginning to evolve. Noble metal nanoparticles such as gold, silver and platinum are particularly interesting due to their size and shape dependent unique optoelectronic properties. These noble metal nanoparticles, particularly of gold, have elicited a lot of interest for important biomedical applications because of their ease of synthesis, characterization and surface functionalization. Furthermore, recent investigations are demonstrating another promising application of these nanomaterials as self-therapeutics. To realize the potential promise of these unique inorganic nanomaterials for future clinical translation, it is of utmost importance to understand a few critical parameters; (i) how these nanomaterials interact with the cells at the molecular level; (ii) how their biodistribution and pharmacokinetics influenced by their surface and routes of administration; (iii) mechanism of their detoxification and clearance and (iv) their therapeutic efficacy in appropriate disease model. Thus in this critical review, we will discuss the various clinical applications of gold, silver and platinum nanoparticles with relevance to above parameters. We will also mention various routes of synthesis of these noble metal nanoparticles. However, before we discuss present research, we will also look into the past. We need to understand the discoveries made before us in order to further our knowledge and technological development (318 references).
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