, Volume 3, Issue 4, pp 352-363
Date: 26 Feb 2013

Dual-function theranostic nanoparticles for drug delivery and medical imaging contrast: perspectives and challenges for use in lung diseases

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Theranostic nanoparticles with both therapeutic and imaging abilities have the promise to revolutionize diagnosis, therapy, and prognosis. Early and accurate detection along with swift treatment are the most important steps in the successful treatment of any disease. Over the last decade, a variety of nanotechnology-based platforms have been created in the hope of improving the treatment and diagnosis of a wide variety of diseases. However, significant hurdles still remain before theranostic nanoparticles can bring clinical solutions to the fight against chronic respiratory diseases. Some fundamental issues such as long-term toxicity, a precise understanding of the accumulation, degradation and clearance of these particles, and the correlation between basic physicochemical properties of these nanoparticles and their in vivo behavior have to be fully understood before they can be used clinically. To date, very little theranostic nanoparticle research has focused on the treatment and diagnosis of chronic respiratory illnesses. Nanomedicine approaches incorporating these theranostic nanoparticles could potentially be translated into clinical advances to improve diagnosis and treatment of these chronic respiratory diseases and enhance quality of life for the patients.