Mitochondrial research has made an enormous leap since mitochondrial DNA mutations were identified as a primary cause for human diseases in 1988 and the organelle's crucial role in apoptosis was identified during the 1990s. Considerable progress has been made in identifying the molecular components of the mitochondrial machinery responsible for life and cell death; however, effective therapies for diseases caused by mitochondrial dysfunction remain elusive. An impediment to manipulating, probing and assessing the functional components of mammalian mitochondria within living cells is their limited accessibility to direct physical, biochemical and pharmacological manipulation. Recent advances in nanotechnology hold the promise of helping to overcome these obstacles. New tools will undoubtedly emerge, creating new avenues for the diagnosis and therapy of mitochondrial disorders. This review briefly discusses current efforts to merge nanobiotechnology with mitochondrial medicine.