Theranostic Fluorescent Probes

Amit Sharma, Peter Verwilst, Mingle Li, Dandan Ma, Nem Singh, Jiyoung Yoo, Yujin Kim, Ying Yang, Jing Hui Zhu, Haiqiao Huang, Xi Le Hu, Xiao Peng He, Lintao Zeng, Tony D. James, Xiaojun Peng, Jonathan L. Sessler, Jong Seung Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


The ability to gain spatiotemporal information, and in some cases achieve spatiotemporal control, in the context of drug delivery makes theranostic fluorescent probes an attractive and intensely investigated research topic. This interest is reflected in the steep rise in publications on the topic that have appeared over the past decade. Theranostic fluorescent probes, in their various incarnations, generally comprise a fluorophore linked to a masked drug, in which the drug is released as the result of certain stimuli, with both intrinsic and extrinsic stimuli being reported. This release is then signaled by the emergence of a fluorescent signal. Importantly, the use of appropriate fluorophores has enabled not only this emerging fluorescence as a spatiotemporal marker for drug delivery but also has provided modalities useful in photodynamic, photothermal, and sonodynamic therapeutic applications. In this review we highlight recent work on theranostic fluorescent probes with a particular focus on probes that are activated in tumor microenvironments. We also summarize efforts to develop probes for other applications, such as neurodegenerative diseases and antibacterials. This review celebrates the diversity of designs reported to date, from discrete small-molecule systems to nanomaterials. Our aim is to provide insights into the potential clinical impact of this still-emerging research direction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2699-2804
Number of pages106
JournalChemical reviews
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2024 Mar 13

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 American Chemical Society

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry


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