The application of nanotechnology in the biomedical field, known as nanomedicine, has gained much interest in the recent past, as versatile strategy for selective drug delivery and diagnostic purposes. The already encouraging results obtained with monofunctional nanomedicines have directed the efforts of the scientists towards the creation of "nanotheranostics" (i.e. theranostic nanomedicines) which integrate imaging and therapeutic functions in a single platform. Nanotheranostics hold great promises because they combine the simultaneous non-invasive diagnosis and treatment of diseases with the exciting possibility to monitor in real time drug release and distribution, thus predicting and validating the effectiveness of the therapy. Due to these features nanotheranostics are extremely attractive for optimizing treatment outcomes in cancer and other severe diseases. The following step is the attempt to use nanotheranostics for performing a real personalized medicine which will tailor optimized treatment to each patient, taking into account the individual variability. Clinical application of nanotheranostics would enable earlier detection and treatment of diseases and earlier assessment of the response, thus allowing screening for patients which would potentially respond to therapy and have higher possibilities of a favorable outcome. This concept makes nanotheranostics extremely appealing to elaborate personalized therapeutic protocols for achieving the maximal benefit along with a high safety profile. Among the several systems developed up to now, this review focuses on the nanotheranostics which, due to the promising results, show the highest potential of translation to clinical applications and may transform into concrete practice the concept of personalized nanomedicine.
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