Nanoparticles for Imaging and Treating Brain Cancer

Joseph D Meyers; Tennyson Doane; Clemens Burda; James P Basilion


Nanomedicine. 2013;8(1):123-143. 

In This Article

Theranostic NPs

QDs, Fe3O4 NPs, AuNPs and polymers have all demonstrated levels of success as theranostic NPs. They have all been used as delivery vehicles to deliver both drugs and imaging agents.[43,48,49,138] However, Fe3O4 and AuNPs do have the ability to function as theranostic NPs completely on their own. This is because Fe3O4 NPs are magnetic resonance contrast agents, while AuNPs are able to function as computed tomography imaging contrast agents due to their density,[116] and both can be used for thermotherapy.[112,137,138]

QDs have been shown to be able to be used as theranostic delivery vehicles for targeted, multimodal imaging of brain cancer as well as to successfully deliver siRNA-based chemotherapeutics.[43] Fe3O4 NPs have even found success in using an externally applied magnetic field to actively target cancer and increase delivery of Fe3O4 NPs in tumors.[138] Although this system has not yet been applied to brain cancer, its ability to improve delivery of an MRI contrast agent along with optical fluorescent imaging agents and cancer therapeutics by using an applied external magnetic field targeted on cancer, make it a promising future candidate for the delicate nature of brain tumors.[138]

AuNPs have shown the ability to deliver PDT drugs, which are fluorescent and allow the drug's distribution to be tracked, while also having the ability to be activated to cause tumor cell damage induced by laser light.[41] Polymer NPs have also seen success by using Fe3O4 encapsulation for MRI contrast enhancement with simultaneously encapsulating PDT drugs for treatment of brain tumors.[48,49] Therefore, a promising application for AuNPs and polymers is the delivery of drugs to brain tumors to allow improved intraoperative tumor margin identification for improved surgical resection of tumors as well as possible intraoperative PDT treatment for inoperable tumor margins.