Jin H, Chen J, Lovell JF, Zhang Z, Zheng G

Israel Journal of Chemistry, 2012

DOI: 10.1002/ijch.201100054

The design and synthesis of new light‐activated contrast agents for theranostics (therapy/diagnosis) has the potential to facilitate multifunctional and improved personalized medicine. The use of light as a remote activation strategy provides spatial and temporal control of drug effect and nanotechnology can play a key role in this process. Lipoproteins (LDL and HDL), which transport water‐insoluble cholesteryl esters and triacylglycerols in nature, have evolved to efficiently ferry exogenous hydrophobic compounds in vivo. They are naturally biocompatible, maneuverable due to their small size (<30 nm), and can be loaded through various methods, and are therefore ideal vehicles to load and transport hydrophobic theranostic agents. This review examines the history and ongoing research activities regarding the design and synthesis of lipoprotein‐based formulations, and their applications or potential applications as light‐activated theranostic agents, with a main focus on photodynamic therapy. This field, while still in its infancy, will benefit from improved design and modulation of enhanced lipoprotein‐based nanocarriers, with the ultimate goal of simultaneous imaging and photoactivation of therapeutic agents in a clinical setting.