Functional Diversity in Radiolabeled Nanoceramics and Related Biomaterials for the Multimodal Imaging of Tumors

David G. Calatayud, Marina Lledos, Federico Casarsa, Sofia Pascu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Citation (SciVal)


Nanotechnology advances have the potential to assist toward the earlier detection of diseases, giving increased accuracy for diagnosis and helping to personalize treatments, especially in the case of noncommunicative diseases (NCDs) such as cancer. The main advantage of nanoparticles, the scaffolds underpinning nanomedicine, is their potential to present multifunctionality: synthetic nanoplatforms for nanomedicines can be tailored to support a range of biomedical imaging modalities of relevance for clinical practice, such as, for example, optical imaging, computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT), and positron emission tomography (PET). A single nanoparticle has the potential to incorporate myriads of contrast agent units or imaging tracers, encapsulate, and/or be conjugated to different combinations of imaging tags, thus providing the means for multimodality diagnostic methods. These arrangements have been shown to provide significant improvements to the signal-to-noise ratios that may be obtained by molecular imaging techniques, for example, in PET diagnostic imaging with nanomaterials versus the cases when molecular species are involved as radiotracers. We surveyed some of the main discoveries in the simultaneous incorporation of nanoparticulate materials and imaging agents within highly kinetically stable radio-nanomaterials as potential tracers with (pre)clinical potential. Diversity in function and new developments toward synthesis, radiolabeling, and microscopy investigations are explored, and preclinical applications in molecular imaging are highlighted. The emphasis is on the biocompatible materials at the forefront of the main preclinical developments, e.g., nanoceramics and liposome-based constructs, which have driven the evolution of diagnostic radio-nanomedicines over the past decade.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)389-417
Number of pages29
JournalACS Bio & Med Chem Au
Issue number5
Early online date8 Aug 2023
Publication statusPublished - 18 Oct 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We acknowledge funding from ERC Consolidator Grant O2Sense (617107), ERC PoC Tools-To-Sense (963937), STFC CDN+, EPSRC for funding through the CDT and CSCT (EO/L016354/1), BB/W019655/1 Multi-User High-Content Confocal Fluorescence Microscope.

Funding Information:
We acknowledge the contributions of Master’s students over the years especially Raffaela Contarra and collaborators in nanomaterials design especially Dr. Hubert Smugowski and Dr. Fernando Cortezon Tamarit who aided the efforts of the authors in collating this material, and Professors J. Dilworth P. Blower, R. Torres, and P. Dobson for helpful discussions and training in radiochemistry. The authors are grateful to EPSRC, STFC, and ERC for funding. SIP acknowledges funding from ERC Consolidator Grant O2Sense 617107 (2014–2020) and ERC Proof of Concept Grant Tools-To-Sense 963937 (2020–2022), EPSRC (EP/K017160/1 “New manufacturable approaches to the deposition and patterning of graphene materials”), Innovate United Kingdom (previously Technology Strategy Board- CR&D, TS/K001035/1), STFC, University of Bath (UoB) Impact fund, EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training Centre for Sustainable Chemical Technologies (EP/G03768 X/1), Cancer Research at Bath (CR@B) and membership of the Centre of Therapeutic Innovation at University of Bath. DGC also thanks Fundación General CSIC (COMFUTURO Program) for funding.


  • PET
  • applied biomaterials
  • iron oxide nanoparticles
  • multimodality imaging
  • nanoceramics
  • optical imaging
  • radio-nanomedicines
  • targeted delivery
  • theranostics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Drug Discovery
  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Pharmaceutical Science


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