Introduction: To date, a growing number of advanced anticancer nanomedicines (e.g., Doxil(®), Lipoxal(®), DepoCyte(®)) have entered into different phases of clinical trials. However, most of these medicaments fail to differentiate between diseased and normal cells. They also do not have capability of real time monitoring of disease status trough on-demand imaging/sensing of target molecule(s). Multifunctional nanomedicines and theranostics can resolve such limitations, while formulation of these advanced seamless systems appear to involve various sophisticated process, exploiting several bioconjugations.
Methods: Recent works upon multifunctional nanomedicines for simultaneous imaging and therapy of cancer have been systematically reviewed, focusing on surface modification and application of advanced nanobiomaterials.
Results: Ultimate therapy of malignancies, as complex systems, demands implementation of seamless nanosystems (NSs) that can specifically target the cancerous cells and smartly deliver the anticancer agent(s) into the desired target site. Engineering of such NSs requires in-situ coordination of various technologies (e.g., synthesis, surface modification and bioconjugation) in order to achieve improved pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics outcomes.
Conclusion: Seamless multimodal NSs have potential to simultaneously target and monitor the tumor cells through homing and imaging/sensing devices and deliver the therapeutic agents. However, to achieve superior pharmacokinetics with maximal efficacy and minimal side effects, these advanced NSs need to become much more intelligent to sense the disease condition and liberate therapeutics on demand.
Keywords: Cancer diagnosis; Cancer imaging; Cancer therapy; Nanomedicine; Theranostics.