A broad array of nanomaterials is available for use as contrast agents for molecular imaging and drug delivery. Due to the lack of endogenous background signal in vivo and the high NMR sensitivity of the 19F atom, liquid perfluorocarbon nanoemulsions make ideal agents for cellular and magnetic resonance molecular imaging. The perfluorocarbon core material is surrounded by a lipid monolayer which can be functionalized with a variety of agents including targeting ligands, imaging agents and drugs either individually or in combination. Multiple copies of targeting ligands (20-40 monoclonal antibodies or 200-400 small molecule ligands) serve to enhance avidity through multivalent interactions while the composition of the particle's perfluorocarbon core results in high local concentrations of 19F. Additionally, lipophilic drugs contained within molecularly targeted nanoemulsions can result in contact facilitated drug delivery to target cells. Ultimately, the dual use of perfluorocarbon nanoparticles for both site targeted drug delivery and molecular imaging may provide both imaging of disease states as well as conclusive evidence that drug delivery is localized to the area of interest. This review will focus on liquid perfluorocarbon nanoparticles as 19F molecular imaging agents and for targeted drug delivery in cancer and cardiovascular disease.
- Molecular imaging
- Targeted drug delivery