Polymeric Nanostructures for Imaging and Therapy.
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The use of nanomaterials, in particular polymeric nanostructures, has demonstrated efficiency in improving delivery of diagnostic and therapeutic agents to the target sites, and the feasibility of incorporating several therapeutic/diagnostic/targeting moieties within specific compartments of the nanoparticles, with control of their navigation in the body and to the target sites. The greatest potential impact of polymeric nanoparticles toward imaging, in general, is the ability to increase contrast locally, by directing the biodistribution of high concentrations of packaged small-molecule contrast agents to a target organ/site in vivo, and also the possibility that multiple types of contrast agents can be coincidentally carried within a polymer nanoparticle package to achieve multimodality imaging. The intrinsic nature of the versatile construction and functionalization of polymeric nanoparticles has enabled facile and practical strategies for developing multimodal medical imaging that can compensate disadvantages of one imaging modality from another. There is an urgent need for collaboration between scientists from different disciplines for development of nanopharmaceuticals viable for clinical use because of the several challenges related to the clinical applications.