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WIREs Nanomed Nanobiotechnol
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Polymeric nanoparticles for molecular imaging

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Conventional imaging technologies (X‐ray computed tomography, magnetic resonance, and optical) depend on contrast agents to visualize a target site or organ of interest. The imaging agents currently used in clinics for diagnosis suffer from disadvantages including poor target specificity and in vivo instability. Consequently, delivery of low concentrations of contrast agents to region of interest affects image quality. Therefore, it is important to selectively deliver high payload of contrast agent to obtain clinically useful images. Nanoparticles offer multifunctional capabilities to transport high concentrations of imaging probes selectively to diseased site inside the body. Polymeric nanoparticles, incorporated with contrast agents, have shown significant benefits in molecular imaging applications. These materials possess the ability to encapsulate different contrast agents within a single matrix enabling multimodal imaging possibilities. The materials can be surface conjugated to target‐specific biomolecules for controlling the navigation under in vivo conditions. The versatility of this class of nanomaterials makes them an attractive platform for developing highly sensitive molecular imaging agents. The research community's progress in the area of synthesis of polymeric nanomaterials and their in vivo imaging applications has been noteworthy, but it is still in the pioneer stage of development. The challenges ahead should focus on the design and fabrication of these materials including burst release of contrasts agents, solubility, and stability issues of polymeric nanomaterials. This article is categorized under: Diagnostic Tools > Diagnostic Nanodevices Diagnostic Tools > In Vivo Nanodiagnostics and Imaging

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General synthetic route for Type I and Type II based nanoconstructs.
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(a) T2‐magnetic resonance MR images obtained for tumor‐bearing mice (squamous cell carcinoma) with polymeric nanoconstruct (HM‐SPION‐PTX30) at different postinjection time points (b) Relative signal showing the maintenance of signal drop up to 3 h postinjection. (Reprinted with permission from Ref . Copyright 2013 Elsevier)
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Precontrast and postcontrast magnetic resonance MR images obtained in rat models with acute pancreatitis at different postinjection time points (1 h, 6 h, 12 h, 24 h, and 36 h). The relative signal intensity (%) values plotted against different points is also shown. (Reprinted with permission from Ref . Copyright 2013 Elsevier)
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Comparative coronal T1‐weighted images obtained for Balb/c mice by injecting Omniscan®, Poly‐Gd, and Poly‐Gd‐Dox. Slice A: heart, liver, and bladder; Slice B: kidneys and vena cava. (Reprinted with permission from Ref . Copyright 2013 Elsevier)
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In vivo magnetic resonance imaging MRI performed in hepato cellular carcinoma (HCC) mice models at different postinjection time points for Magnevist® (a: 0 min, b: 1 min, c: 10 min, and d: 1 h); PLA‐PEG‐GdNPs (e: 0 min, f: 1 h, g: 3 h, and h: 12 h); and anti‐VEGF‐PLA‐PEG‐GdNPs (i: 0 min, j: 2 h, k: 12 h, and l: 24 h). (Reprinted with permission from Ref . Copyright 2013 Elsevier)
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In vivo whole‐body imaging of CT‐26 tumor‐bearing mice injected with Indocyanine green ICG and ICG‐encapsulated nanoconstruct. (Reprinted with permission from Ref . Copyright 2010 Springer)
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(a) In vivo near‐infrared fluorescence NIRF tomographic images of subcutaneous SCC7 tumor‐bearing mice after intravenous injection of the nanosensor (NS) with or without the inhibitor. (b) Tumor region of interest (ROI) and T/N ratio. (c) NIRF images of excised SCC7 tumor and organs. (d) Two‐dimensional slices of the tumor images. (e) NIRF microscopy of SCC7 tumors injected with nanoconstruct. (f) NIRF images of excised NS‐treated SCC7 tumors from mice with different size tumors. (g) Correlation between tumor grades (total fluorescence intensity) and the relative MMP‐2/9 activity of excised SCC7 tumors. (Reprinted with permission from Ref . Copyright 2009 American Chemical Society)
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Matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) enzyme‐activated fluorescent polymeric nanoconstructs for imaging applications. (Reprinted with permission from Ref . Copyright 2009 American Chemical Society)
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Serial X‐ray computed tomography (CT) images of a rat following tail‐vein injection of cROMP (6 mL/kg). Major organs shown above include liver (1), spleen (2), kidney (3, 4), and gastrointestinal track (5). (Reprinted with permission from Ref . Copyright 2009 American Chemical Society)
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(a) Comparative X‐ray computed tomography (CT) imaging study (serial axial images) in mice bearing MCF‐7 tumor after injection with 200 µL of iohexol (upper panel) and poly(iohexol) nanoparticles (lower panel) at 50 mg iohexol/kg. Yellow arrows indicate contrast enhancements in tumor. (b) Change in Hounsfield unit (ΔHU) after administration of poly(iohexol)NPs or iohexol. (Reprinted with permission from Ref . Copyright 2013 American Chemical Society)
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