Nanomedicine formulations are considered to be superior to standard low-molecular-weight drugs because of an increased drug accumulation at the pathological site and a decreased localization to healthy non-target tissues, together leading to an improved balance between the efficacy and the toxicity of (chemo-) therapeutic interventions. To better understand and further improve nanomedicine-mediated drug targeting, it is important to design systems and strategies which are able to provide real-time feedback on the localization, the release and the therapeutic efficacy of these formulations. The advances made over the past few years with regard to the development of novel imaging agents and techniques have provided a broad basis for the design of theranostic nanomedicine materials, i.e. multicomponent carrier constructs in which drugs and imaging agents are combined, and which can be used to address issues related to drug localization, drug release and drug efficacy. Here, we summarize several recent efforts in this regard, and we show that theranostic systems and strategies hold significant potential for monitoring and improving nanomedicine-mediated drug targeting.
Keywords: Drug targeting, image-guided drug delivery, nanomedicine, theranostics, nanomedicine formulations, polymer, biological barriers, toxicity, nanomedicine-mediated drug targeting, drug localization, theranostic systems, low-molecular-weight drugs, novel imaging agents, broad basis, theragnostics
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