Rational design of semiconducting polymer brushes as cancer theranostics
Photonic theranostics (PTs) generally contain optical agents for the optical sensing of biomolecules and therapeutic components for converting light into heat or chemical energy. Semiconducting polymer nanoparticles (SPNs) as advanced PTs possessing good biocompatibility, stable photophysical properties, and sensitive and tunable optical responses from the ultraviolet to near-infrared (NIR) II window (300–1700 nm) have recently aroused great interest. Although semiconducting polymers (SPs) with various building blocks have been synthesized and developed to meet the demands of biophotonic applications, most of the SPNs were made by a nanoprecipitation method that used amphiphilic surfactants to encapsulate SPs. Such binary SP micelles usually exhibit weakened photophysical properties of SPs and undergo dissociation in vivo. SP brushes (SPBs) are products of functional post-modification of SP backbones, which endows unique features to SPNs (e.g. enhanced optical properties and multiple chemical reaction sites for the conjunction of organic/inorganic imaging agents and therapeutics). Furthermore, the SPB-based SPNs can be highly stable due to supramolecular self-assembly and/or chemical crosslinking. In this review, we highlight the recent progress in the development of SPBs for advanced theranostics.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Recent Review Articles