Nanotheranostics 2021; 5(4):499-514. doi:10.7150/ntno.62730

Research Paper

Recent Advances in the Development of Theranostic Nanoparticles for Cardiovascular Diseases

Yuao Wu1,3, Karla X. Vazquez-Prada1,3, Yajun Liu3, Andrew K. Whittaker3,4, Run Zhang3, Hang T. Ta1,2,3✉

1. Queensland Micro- and Nanotechnology, Griffith University, Brisbane, Queensland 4111, Australia
2. School of Environment and Science, Griffith University, Brisbane, Queensland 4111, Australia
3. Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, the University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland 4072, Australia
4. ARC Centre of Excellence in Convergent Bio-Nano Science and Technology, the University of Queensland, QLD 4072, Australia

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Wu Y, Vazquez-Prada KX, Liu Y, Whittaker AK, Zhang R, Ta HT. Recent Advances in the Development of Theranostic Nanoparticles for Cardiovascular Diseases. Nanotheranostics 2021; 5(4):499-514. doi:10.7150/ntno.62730. Available from

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Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death worldwide. CVD includes a group of disorders of the heart and blood vessels such as myocardial infarction, ischemic heart, ischemic injury, injured arteries, thrombosis and atherosclerosis. Amongst these, atherosclerosis is the dominant cause of CVD and is an inflammatory disease of the blood vessel wall. Diagnosis and treatment of CVD remain the main challenge due to the complexity of their pathophysiology. To overcome the limitations of current treatment and diagnostic techniques, theranostic nanomaterials have emerged. The term "theranostic nanomaterials" refers to a multifunctional agent with both therapeutic and diagnostic abilities. Theranostic nanoparticles can provide imaging contrast for a diversity of techniques such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), positron emission tomography (PET) and computed tomography (CT). In addition, they can treat CVD using photothermal ablation and/or medication by the drugs in nanoparticles. This review discusses the latest advances in theranostic nanomaterials for the diagnosis and treatment of CVDs according to the order of disease development. MRI, CT, near-infrared spectroscopy (NIR), and fluorescence are the most widely used strategies on theranostics for CVDs detection. Different treatment methods for CVDs based on theranostic nanoparticles have also been discussed. Moreover, current problems of theranostic nanoparticles for CVDs detection and treatment and future research directions are proposed.

Keywords: theranostics, nanomaterials, cardiovascular diseases, atherosclerosis, thrombosis, myocardial infarction, ischemic heart