Nanoparticles for cancer imaging: The good, the bad, and the promise

Sandra Chapman*, Marina Dobrovolskaia, Keyvan Farahani, Andrew Goodwin, Amit Joshi, Hakho Lee, Thomas Meade, Martin Pomper, Krzysztof Ptak, Jianghong Rao, Ravi Singh, Srinivas Sridhar, Stephan Stern, Andrew Wang, John B. Weaver, Gayle Woloschak, Lily Yang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

135 Scopus citations


Recent advances in molecular imaging and nanotechnology are providing new opportunities for biomedical imaging with great promise for the development of novel imaging agents. The unique optical, magnetic, and chemical properties of materials at the scale of nanometers allow the creation of imaging probes with better contrast enhancement, increased sensitivity, controlled biodistribution, better spatial and temporal information, multi-functionality and multi-modal imaging across MRI, PET, SPECT, and ultrasound. These features could ultimately translate to clinical advantages such as earlier detection, real time assessment of disease progression and personalized medicine. However, several years of investigation into the application of these materials to cancer research has revealed challenges that have delayed the successful application of these agents to the field of biomedical imaging. Understanding these challenges is critical to take full advantage of the benefits offered by nano-sized imaging agents. Therefore, this article presents the lessons learned and challenges encountered by a group of leading researchers in this field, and suggests ways forward to develop nanoparticle probes for cancer imaging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)454-460
Number of pages7
JournalNano Today
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2013


  • Cancer
  • Detection
  • Imaging
  • Nanomedicine
  • Screening

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Biotechnology
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • General Materials Science
  • Pharmaceutical Science


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