The first part of this review looks at the fundamental properties of hydroxyapatite (HAP), the basic mineral constituent of mammalian hard tissues, including the physicochemical features that govern its formation by precipitation. A special emphasis is placed on the analysis of qualities of different methods of synthesis and of the phase transformations intrinsic to the formation of HAP following precipitation from aqueous solutions. This serves as an introduction to the second part and the main subject of this review, which relates to the discourse regarding the prospects of fabrication of ultrafine, nanosized particles based on calcium phosphate carriers with various therapeutic and/or diagnostic agents coated on and/or encapsulated within the particles. It is said that the particles could be either surface-functionalized with amphiphiles, peptides, proteins, or nucleic acids or injected with therapeutic agents, magnetic ions, or fluorescent molecules. Depending on the additive, they could be subsequently used for a variety of applications, including the controlled delivery and release of therapeutic agents (extracellularly or intracellularly), magnetic resonance imaging and hyperthermia therapy, cell separation, blood detoxification, peptide or oligonucleotide chromatography and ultrasensitive detection of biomolecules, and in vivo and in vitro gene transfection. Calcium phosphate nanoparticles as carriers of therapeutic agents that would enable a controlled drug release to treat a given bone infection and at the same be resorbed in the body so as to regenerate hard tissue lost to disease are emphasized hereby as one of the potentially attractive smart materials for the modern medicine.
Uskoković, V. and Uskoković, D. P. (2011), Nanosized hydroxyapatite and other calcium phosphates: Chemistry of formation and application as drug and gene delivery agents. J. Biomed. Mater. Res., 96B: 152–191. doi:10.1002/jbm.b.31746