PURPOSE Coupling the potential for bone regeneration and the ability for in situ controlled drug release in a single device is a challenging field of research in bone tissue engineering; in an attempt to pursue this aim, mesoporous bioactive glass (MBG) membranes belonging to the SiO2-P2O5-CaO ternary system were produced and characterized. METHODS The glass was synthesized via a sol-gel route coupled with an evaporation-induced self-assembly process by using a non-ionic block co-polymer as a mesostructure former. MBG structure and morphology, as well as mesopores size and shape, were investigated by x-ray diffraction, transmission electron microscopy, and N2 adsorption-desorption measurements. In vitro bioactivity was investigated by soaking MBG membranes in simulated body fluid (SBF) for different time frames. Ibuprofen was encapsulated into MBG pores and drug release kinetics in SBF were assessed. Biological tests by using SAOS-2 cells were performed to assess the material cytocompatibility. RESULTS The material revealed significant ability to induce hydroxyapatite formation on its surface (bioactivity). Drug release kinetics in SBF are very similar to those obtained for mesoporous silica having mesopore size comparable to that of the prepared MBG (∼5 nm). No evidence of cell viability depression was detected during in vitro culture, which demonstrates the good biological compatibility of the material. CONCLUSIONS The easiness of tailoring and shaping, the highly bioactive and biocompatible behavior, and the drug uptake/release ability of the prepared materials may suggest their use as "smart" multifunctional grafts for bone reconstructive surgery.