Applications of nanoscale metal–organic frameworks as imaging agents in biology and medicine
Nanoscale metal–organic frameworks (NMOFs) are an interesting and unique class of hybrid porous materials constructed by the self-assembly of metal ions/clusters with organic linkers. The high storage capacities, facile synthesis, easy surface functionalization, diverse compositions and excellent biocompatibilities of NMOFs have made them promising agents for theranostic applications. By combination of a large variety of metal ions and organic ligands, and incorporation of desired molecular functionalities including imaging modalities and therapeutic molecules, diverse MOF structures with versatile functionalities can be obtained and utilized in biomedical imaging and drug delivery. In recent years, NMOFs have attracted great interest as imaging agents in optical imaging (OI), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT), positron emission tomography (PET) and photoacoustic imaging (PAI). Furthermore, the significant porosity of MOFs allows them to be loaded with multiple imaging agents and therapeutics simultaneously and applied for multimodal imaging and therapy as a single entity. In this review, which is intended as an introduction to the use of MOFs in biomedical imaging for a reader entering the subject, we summarize the up-to-date progress of NMOFs as bioimaging agents, giving (i) a broad perspective of the varying imaging techniques that MOFs can enable, (ii) the different routes to manufacturing functionalised MOF nanoparticles and hybrids, and (iii) the integration of imaging with differing therapeutic techniques. The current challenges and perspectives of NMOFs for their further clinical translation are also highlighted and discussed.
- This article is part of the themed collections: Recent Open Access Articles and Journal of Materials Chemistry B Recent Review Articles