Luminescent Silica Nanoparticles for Cancer Diagnosis
Current Medicinal Chemistry
Fluorescence imaging techniques are becoming essential in preclinical investigations, and the research of suitable tools for in vivo measurements is gaining more and more importance and attention. Nanotechnology entered the field to try to find solutions for many limitation at the state of the art, and luminescent nanoparticles (NPs) are one of the most promising materials proposed for future diagnostic implementation. NPs constitute also a versatile platform that can allow facile
... alization to perform multimodal imaging or theranostic (simultaneous diagnosis and therapy). In this contribution we have focussed our attention only on dye doped silica or silica-based NPs conjugated with targeting moieties to enable specific cancer cells imaging and differentiation, even if also a few non targeted systems have been cited and discussed for completeness. We have summarized common synthetic approaches to these materials and then surveyed the most recent imaging applications of silica-based nanoparticles in cancer. The field of theranostic is so important and stimulating that, even if it is not the central topic of this paper, we have included some significant examples. We have then concluded with short hints on systems already in clinical trials and examples of specific applications in children tumours. This review tries to describe and discuss, through focussed examples, the great potentialities of these materials in the medical field, with the aim to encourage further research to implement applications that are still rare.