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Nanotheranostics, which combines optical multiplexed disease detection with therapeutic monitoring in a single modality, has the potential to propel the field of nanomedicine toward genuine personalized medicine. Currently employed mainstream modalities using gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) in diagnosis and treatment are limited by a lack of specificity and potential issues associated with systemic toxicity. Light-mediated nanotheranostics offers a relatively non-invasive alternative for cancer diagnosis and treatment by using AuNPs of specific shapes and sizes that absorb near infrared (NIR) light, inducing plasmon resonance for enhanced tumor detection and generating localized heat for tumor ablation. Over the last decade, significant progress has been made in the field of nanotheranostics, however the main biological and translational barriers to nanotheranostics leading to a new paradigm in anti-cancer nanomedicine stem from the molecular complexities of cancer and an incomplete mechanistic understanding of utilization of Au-NPs in living systems. This work provides a comprehensive overview on the biological, physical and translational barriers facing the development of nanotheranostics. It will also summarise the recent advances in engineering specific AuNPs, their unique characteristics and, importantly, tunability to achieve the desired optical/photothermal properties.

Original publication





Advanced science (Weinheim, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany)

Publication Date





School of Physics and Astronomy University of Exeter Exeter EX4 4QL UK.