Proteins have received increasing attention as a novel platform for drug delivery and phototheranostic agents that may serve as new nanomedicines. In drug delivery system, proteins can act as powerful tools with self-assembled structures, triggering groups, receptors and agents to enhance cell penetration. Compared to other nanoparticle based theranostics, nano-platforms for theranostics by utilizing proteins have unique merits, such as higher loading capacities and high efficiency of photosensitizers in phototherapies. However, the full potential of protein-based theranostics has not been achieved thus far. In this review, recent advances made in this area were discussed following a format based on proteins in drug delivery systems, proteins-dye complexes for phototherapy of cancer, proteins nanoparticles for imaging-guided cancer therapy such as fluorescent imaging, positron emission tomography (PET), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), ultrasound (US) Imaging, PA imaging and proteins-based nanoprobes and nanostructures. Importantly, this discussion also provides a view of future advances that will likely be made in this area and their potential clinical applications.
- Drug delivery
- Imaging-guided cancer therapy
- Protein-based theranostics