Functionalized nanomaterials as tailored theranostic agents in brain imaging

Ramar Thangam, Ramasamy Paulmurugan, Heemin Kang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Functionalized nanomaterials of various categories are essential for developing cancer nano-theranostics for brain diseases; however, some limitations exist in their effectiveness and clinical translation, such as toxicity, limited tumor penetration, and inability to cross blood–brain and blood-tumor barriers. Metal nanomaterials with functional fluorescent tags possess unique properties in improving their functional properties, including surface plasmon resonance (SPR), superparam-agnetism, and photo/bioluminescence, which facilitates imaging applications in addition to their deliveries. Moreover, these multifunctional nanomaterials could be synthesized through various chemical modifications on their physical surfaces via attaching targeting peptides, fluorophores, and quantum dots (QD), which could improve the application of these nanomaterials by facilitating theranostic modalities. In addition to their inherent CT (Computed Tomography), MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging), PAI (Photo-acoustic imaging), and X-ray contrast imaging, various multifunctional nanoparticles with imaging probes serve as brain-targeted imaging candidates in several imaging modalities. The primary criteria of these functional nanomaterials for translational application to the brain must be zero toxicity. Moreover, the beneficial aspects of nano-theranostics of nanoparti-cles are their multifunctional systems proportioned towards personalized disease management via comprising diagnostic and therapeutic abilities in a single biodegradable nanomaterial. This review highlights the emerging aspects of engineered nanomaterials to reach and deliver therapeutics to the brain and how to improve this by adopting the imaging modalities for theranostic applications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number18
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Jan 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: This work was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grants (2021R1I1A1A01046207 and 2020R1C1C1011038) funded by the Korean government, Ministry of Science and Technology (MSIT), Republic of Korea. This work also supported by the Korea University grant.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Contrast agents
  • Delivery
  • Functionalized nanomaterials
  • Imaging
  • Theranostics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Materials Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Functionalized nanomaterials as tailored theranostic agents in brain imaging'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this