The development of nanomaterials as multifunctional targeted therapeutic and diagnostic (theranostic) imaging agents has become increasingly important in recent years, potentially providing powerful, sensitised means of co-localising physiological/disease status and anatomy, tracking and delineation of multiple markers and subsequent or simultaneous highly localised treatment. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a powerful non-invasive medical technique which becomes considerably more potent when contrast agents are applied. Mesoporous silica nanoparticles (MSN) can be loaded with gadolinium chelates and have demonstrated the highest protic relaxivities of MSN-based contrast agents to date at low Gd(III) loadings. A range of Imaging agents capable of reporting on their local biochemical environment through a stimuli-triggered ‘on/off’ switching response are being designed and characterised.
Examples: Chem. Commun, 2005, 845-847, J. Mater. Chem., 2009, 19, 8341-8346, Dalton Trans. 2011, 40, 23, 6087-6103, Inorganic Chemistry, 50, 18, 9178-9183, J. Mater. Chem., 2012, 22, 22848-22850, Chem. Commun., 2013, 49, 1, 60-62, Chemistry-A European Journal, 2013, 19, 17891-17898, Chem. Commun., 2013, 49, 9704-9721