Radiolabelling of Nanomaterials for Medical Imaging and Therapy

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Nanomaterials offer unique physical, chemical and biological properties of interest for medical imaging and therapy. Over the last two decades, there has been an increasing effort to translate nanomaterial-based medicinal products (so-called nanomedicines) into clinical practice and, although multiple nanoparticle-based formulations are clinically available, there is still a disparity between the number of pre-clinical products and those that reach clinical approval. To facilitate the efficient clinical translation of nanomedicinal-drugs, it is important to study their whole-body biodistribution and pharmacokinetics from the early stages of their development. Integrating this knowledge with that of their therapeutic profile and/or toxicity should provide a powerful combination to efficiently inform nanomedicine trials and allow early selection of the most promising candidates. In this context, radiolabelling nanomaterials allows whole-body and non-invasive in vivo tracking by the sensitive clinical imaging techniques positron emission tomography (PET), and single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT). Furthermore, certain radionuclides with specific nuclear emissions can elicit therapeutic effects by themselves, leading to radionuclide-based therapy. To ensure robust information during the development of nanomaterials for PET/SPECT imaging and/or radionuclide therapy, selection of the most appropriate radiolabelling method and knowledge of its limitations are critical. Different radiolabelling strategies are available depending on the type of material, the radionuclide and/or the final application. In this review we describe the different radiolabelling strategies currently available, with a critical vision over their advantages and disadvantages. The final aim is to review the most relevant and up-to-date knowledge available in this field, and support the efficient clinical translation of future nanomedicinal products for in vivo imaging and/or therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3355-3423
Number of pages69
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 7 Mar 2021


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