Quantum dot-based theranostics.
Luminescent semiconductor nanocrystals, also known as quantum dots (QDs), have advanced the fields of molecular diagnostics and nanotherapeutics. Much of the initial progress for QDs in biology and medicine has focused on developing new biosensing formats to push the limit of detection sensitivity. Nevertheless, QDs can be more than passive bio-probes or labels for biological imaging and cellular studies. The high surface-to-volume ratio of QDs enables the construction of a "smart" multifunctional nanoplatform, where the QDs serve not only as an imaging agent but also a nanoscaffold catering for therapeutic and diagnostic (theranostic) modalities. This mini review highlights the emerging applications of functionalized QDs as fluorescence contrast agents for imaging or as nanoscale vehicles for delivery of therapeutics, with special attention paid to the promise and challenges towards QD-based theranostics.
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