The advent of nanoparticle DDSs (drug delivery systems, nano-DDSs) is opening new pathways to understanding physiology and pathophysiology at the nanometer scale. A nano-DDS can be used to deliver higher local concentrations of drugs to a target region and magnify therapeutic effects. However, interstitial cells or fibrosis in intractable tumors, as occurs in pancreatic or scirrhous stomach cancer, tend to impede nanoparticle delivery. Thus, it is critical to optimize the type and size of nanoparticles to reach the target. High-resolution 3D imaging provides a means of "seeing" the nanoparticle distribution and therapeutic effects. We introduce the concept of "nano-pathophysiological imaging" as a strategy for theranostics. The strategy consists of selecting an appropriate nano-DDS and rapidly evaluating drug effects in vivo to guide the next round of therapy. In this article we classify nano-DDSs by component carrier materials and present an overview of the significance of nano-pathophysiological MRI.
- In vivo imaging