Near-infrared light-activatable polymeric nanoformulations for combined therapy and imaging of cancer

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Abstract

Near infrared (NIR) light allows deep tissue penetration and high spatial resolution due to the reduced scattering of long-wavelength photons. NIR light-activatable polymer nanoparticles are widely exploited for enhanced cancer imaging (diagnosis) and therapy owing to their superior photostability, photothermal conversion efficiency (or high emission rate), and minimal toxicity to cells and tissues. This review surveys the most recent advances in the synthesis of different NIR-absorbing and emissive polymer nanoformulations, and their applications for cancer imaging, photothermal therapy, theranostics and combination therapy by delivering multiple small molecule chemotherapeutics. Photo-responsive drug delivery systems for NIR light-triggered drug release are also discussed with particular emphasis on their molecular designs and formulations as well as photo-reaction mechanisms. Finally, outlook and challenges are presented regarding potential clinical applications of NIR light-activatable nanoformulations.

Graphical abstract

Near-infrared light-activatable polymeric nanoformulations for combined therapy and imaging of cancer.

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