Non-metallic nanomaterials in cancer theranostics: A review of silica- and carbon-based drug delivery systems

Yu Cheng Chen, Xin Chun Huang, Yun Ling Luo, Yung Chen Chang, You-Zung Hsieh, Hsin-Yun Hsu

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72 Scopus citations


The rapid development in nanomaterials has brought great opportunities to cancer theranostics, which aims to combine diagnostics and therapy for cancer treatment and thereby improve the healthcare of patients. In this review we focus on the recent progress of several cancer theranostic strategies using mesoporous silica nanoparticles and carbon-based nanomaterials. Silicon and carbon are both group IV elements; they have been the most abundant and significant non-metallic substances in human life. Their intrinsic physical/chemical properties are of critical importance in the fabrication of multifunctional drug delivery systems. Responsive nanocarriers constructed using these nanomaterials have been promising in cancer-specific theranostics during the past decade. In all cases, either a controlled texture or the chemical functionalization is coupled with adaptive properties, such as pH-, light-, redox- and magnetic field- triggered responses. Several studies in cells and mice models have implied their underlying therapeutic efficacy; however, detailed and long-term in vivo clinical evaluations are certainly required to make these bench-made materials compatible in real bedside circumstances.

Original languageEnglish
Article number044407
JournalScience and Technology of Advanced Materials
Issue number4
StatePublished - 16 Aug 2013


  • carbon-based nanomaterials
  • drug delivery systems
  • mesoporous silica nanoparticles
  • theranostics


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