Raman imaging of nanocarriers for drug delivery

Vanden-Hehir, Sally and Tipping, William J. and Lee, Martin and Brunton, Valerie G. and Williams, Anna and Hulme, Alison N. (2019) Raman imaging of nanocarriers for drug delivery. Nanomaterials, 9 (3). pp. 1-19. 341. ISSN 2079-4991 (https://doi.org/10.3390/nano9030341)

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The efficacy of pharmaceutical agents can be greatly improved through nanocarrier delivery. Encapsulation of pharmaceutical agents into a nanocarrier can enhance their bioavailability and biocompatibility, whilst also facilitating targeted drug delivery to specific locations within the body. However, detailed understanding of the in vivo activity of the nanocarrier-drug conjugate is required prior to regulatory approval as a safe and effective treatment strategy. A comprehensive understanding of how nanocarriers travel to, and interact with, the intended target is required in order to optimize the dosing strategy, reduce potential off-target effects, and unwanted toxic effects. Raman spectroscopy has received much interest as a mechanism for label-free, non-invasive imaging of nanocarrier modes of action in vivo. Advanced Raman imaging techniques, including coherent anti-Stokes Raman scattering (CARS) and stimulated Raman scattering (SRS), are paving the way for rigorous evaluation of nanocarrier activity at the single-cell level. This review focuses on the development of Raman imaging techniques to study organic nanocarrier delivery in cells and tissues.