Fluorescent/magnetic micro/nano-spheres based on quantum dots and/or magnetic nanoparticles: preparation, properties, and their applications in cancer studies
The study of cancer is of great significance to human survival and development, due to the fact that cancer has become one of the greatest threats to human health. In recent years, the rapid progress of nanoscience and nanotechnology has brought new and bright opportunities to this field. In particular, the applications of quantum dots (QDs) and magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) have greatly promoted early diagnosis and effective therapy of cancer. In this review, we focus on fluorescent/magnetic micro/nano-spheres based on QDs and/or MNPs (we may call them “nanoparticle-sphere (NP–sphere) composites”) from their preparation to their bio-application in cancer research. Firstly, we outline and compare the main four kinds of methods for fabricating NP–sphere composites, including their design principles, operation processes, and characteristics (merits and limitations). The NP–sphere composites successfully inherit the unique fluorescence or magnetic properties of QDs or MNPs. Moreover, compared with the nanoparticles (NPs) alone, the NP–sphere composites show superior properties, which are also discussed in this review. Then, we summarize their recent applications in cancer research from three aspects, that is: separation and enrichment of target tumor cells or biomarkers; cancer diagnosis mainly through medical imaging or tumor biomarker detection; and cancer therapy via targeted drug delivery systems. Finally, we provide some perspectives on the future challenges and development trends of the NP–sphere composites.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Nanoscale approaches for cancer diagnosis and treatment