Translational Nanodiagnostics for In Vivo Cancer Detection

  • Christina H. LiuEmail author
  • Pushpa TandonEmail author
  • Luisa M. Russell
Part of the Bioanalysis book series (BIOANALYSIS, volume 5)


Nanotechnology-enabled tools and techniques have revolutionized the field of analytical assays with significantly increased sensitivity for in vitro and in vivo measurements of biomolecules for early detection of disease and evaluation of therapeutic efficacy – termed nanodiagnostics. With the ability to detect low-abundant biomolecules below the conventional detection limits in small biological samples, in vitro nanodiagnostics are poised to have a significant impact on cancer prevention and precision medicine. However, in vitro nanodiagnostics do not give detailed anatomical information which can only be available through in vivo imaging. In this regard, nanoparticles can play an important role in the diagnosis of cancers, both as imaging contrast agents for almost every existing modality and as “theranostic” agents, able to serve both diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. Even though newer generation powerful medical imaging tools and methods have been developed and accepted in the clinics, in vivo nanodiagnostics have not enjoyed a smooth path in clinical translation. In addition to the known difficulty of inconsistent NP production, several reasons can attribute to such shortcomings. Some examples include in vivo distribution and toxicity (e.g., quantum dots), lack of market viability (e.g., iron oxide nanoparticles), and lack of gold standards and validations (e.g., imaging biomarkers). In this chapter, we briefly review the nanoparticles that have been developed for diagnostic or theranostic purposes by modality. We also discuss established and emerging nanomedicines for diagnostics and challenges faced in the development of these nanoparticle diagnostic agents, as well as future perspectives for the field in clinical applications.


Cancer Diagnostic Theranostic Nanodiagnostic Nanomedicine Clinical imaging Preclinical imaging Nanoparticles In vivo imaging Imaging agents Contrast agents Iron oxide nanoparticles Ferumoxytol FDA Clinical translation Clinical trials Magnetic resonance Optical imaging Nuclear medicine Ultrasound imaging Photoacoustic imaging Multimodal imaging Surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy In vitro diagnostics In vivo diagnostics 


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© This is a U.S. government work and not under copyright protection in the U.S.; foreign copyright protection may apply 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of HealthRockvilleUSA

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