Nanotheranostics 2017; 1(1):38-58. doi:10.7150/ntno.17694 This issue


Targeted Nanomaterials for Phototherapy

Upendra Chitgupi*, Yiru Qin*, Jonathan F. Lovell

Department of Biomedical Engineering, University at Buffalo, State University of New York, Buffalo, New York, USA.
*equal contribution.

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY-NC) license ( See for full terms and conditions.
Chitgupi U, Qin Y, Lovell JF. Targeted Nanomaterials for Phototherapy. Nanotheranostics 2017; 1(1):38-58. doi:10.7150/ntno.17694. Available from

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Graphic abstract

Phototherapies involve the irradiation of target tissues with light. To further enhance selectivity and potency, numerous molecularly targeted photosensitizers and photoactive nanoparticles have been developed. Active targeting typically involves harnessing the affinity between a ligand and a cell surface receptor for improved accumulation in the targeted tissue. Targeting ligands including peptides, proteins, aptamers and small molecules have been explored for phototherapy. In this review, recent examples of targeted nanomaterials used in phototherapy are summarized.

Keywords: targeting, photodynamic therapy, photothermal therapy, photosensitizers, cancer.