Development and applications of photo-triggered theranostic agents

Adv Drug Deliv Rev. 2010 Aug 30;62(11):1094-124. doi: 10.1016/j.addr.2010.09.002. Epub 2010 Sep 19.


Theranostics, the fusion of therapy and diagnostics for optimizing efficacy and safety of therapeutic regimes, is a growing field that is paving the way towards the goal of personalized medicine for the benefit of patients. The use of light as a remote-activation mechanism for drug delivery has received increased attention due to its advantages in highly specific spatial and temporal control of compound release. Photo-triggered theranostic constructs could facilitate an entirely new category of clinical solutions which permit early recognition of the disease by enhancing contrast in various imaging modalities followed by the tailored guidance of therapy. Finally, such theranostic agents could aid imaging modalities in monitoring response to therapy. This article reviews recent developments in the use of light-triggered theranostic agents for simultaneous imaging and photoactivation of therapeutic agents. Specifically, we discuss recent developments in the use of theranostic agents for photodynamic-, photothermal- or photo-triggered chemotherapy for several diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Infective Agents / therapeutic use
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Diagnostic Imaging / methods*
  • Drug Carriers / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Infections / diagnosis*
  • Infections / drug therapy*
  • Nanoparticles / therapeutic use
  • Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Phototherapy / methods*


  • Anti-Infective Agents
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Drug Carriers