Molecular imaging agents are extending the potential of noninvasive medical diagnosis from basic gross anatomical descriptions to complicated phenotypic characterizations based upon the recognition of unique cell-surface biochemical signatures. Although originally the purview of nuclear medicine, "molecular imaging" is now studied in conjunction with all clinically relevant imaging modalities. Of the myriad of particles that have emerged as prospective candidates for clinical translation, perfluorocarbon nanoparticles offer great potential for combining targeted imaging with drug delivery, much like the "magic bullet" envisioned by Paul Ehrlich 100 years ago. Perfluorocarbon nanoparticles, once studied in Phase III clinical trials as blood substitutes, have found new life for molecular imaging and drug delivery. The particles have been adapted for use with all clinically relevant modalities and for targeted drug delivery. In particular, their intravascular constraint due to particle size provides a distinct advantage for angiogenesis imaging and antiangiogenesis therapy. As perfluorocarbon nanoparticles have recently entered Phase I clinical study, this review provides a timely focus on the development of this platform technology and its application for angiogenesis-related pathologies.
- Drug delivery
- Molecular imaging