The next generation of smart gold nanobeacons: nanotheranostics is ready for prime time

The most elementary principle of theranostics (diagnostics and therapy) has been in practice for decades. Since the 1940s, we have been able to image (diagnostics) and treat (therapy) thyroid cancers using radioiodine (also known as the radioisotope Iodine-131) [1]. More recently, advances in molecular biology and medicine together with the cumulative knowledge at the intersection of biomaterials science and innovative imaging has provided a wealth of functional biomarkers for a range of diseases. Theranostics take advantage of these biomarkers to gain specific access to diseased cells/tissues/organs, image and report on the state of the disease, define the presence or absence of a molecular target and deliver therapeutic payloads directly to the disease sites [2]. Today, the field of theranostics is rapidly evolving and simplifying the shift from ‘trial and error’ medicine to personalized and precision medicine, holding great promise for improved patient clinical outcomes [3].

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