Proteolytic Nanoparticles Replace a Surgical Blade by Controllably Remodeling the Oral Connective Tissue

Assaf Zinger, Omer Adir, Matan Alper, Assaf Simon, Maria Poley, Chen Tzror, Zvi Yaari, Majd Krayem, Shira Kasten, Guy Nawy, Avishai Herman, Yael Nir, Sharon Akrish, Tidhar Klein, Janna Shainsky-Roitman, Dov Hershkovitz, Avi Schroeder*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Surgical blades are common medical tools. However, blades cannot distinguish between healthy and diseased tissue, thereby creating unnecessary damage, lengthening recovery, and increasing pain. We propose that surgical procedures can rely on natural tissue remodeling tools - enzymes, which are the same tools our body uses to repair itself. Through a combination of nanotechnology and a controllably activated proteolytic enzyme, we performed a targeted surgical task in the oral cavity. More specifically, we engineered nanoparticles that contain collagenase in a deactivated form. Once placed at the surgical site, collagenase was released at a therapeutic concentration and activated by calcium, its biological cofactor that is naturally present in the tissue. Enhanced periodontal remodeling was recorded due to enzymatic cleavage of the supracrestal collagen fibers that connect the teeth to the underlying bone. When positioned in their new orientation, natural tissue repair mechanisms supported soft and hard tissue recovery and reduced tooth relapse. Through the combination of nanotechnology and proteolytic enzymes, localized surgical procedures can now be less invasive.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1482-1490
Number of pages9
JournalACS Nano
Issue number2
StatePublished - 27 Feb 2018
Externally publishedYes


FundersFunder number
European Union FP-7908049
Israel Ministry of Economy52752
Israel Ministry of Science Technology and SpaceOffice of the Chief Scientist3-11878
Israeli Foundation for Scientific Research and DevelopmentI-2328-1139.10/2012
Mallat Family Foundation
Horizon 2020 Framework Programme680242
European Research CouncilSTG-2015-680242
German-Israeli Foundation for Scientific Research and Development
Israel Cancer Association2015-0116
Israel Science Foundation1778/13


    • biosurgery
    • collagen
    • extracellular matrix
    • liposomes
    • nanotechnology
    • protein delivery


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