Liposomes: From a clinically established drug delivery system to a nanoparticle platform for theranostic nanomedicine

For decades, clinicians have used liposomes, self-assembled lipid vesicles, as nanoscale systems to deliver encapsulated anthracycline molecules for cancer treatment. The more recent proposition to combine liposomes with nanoparticles remains at the preclinical development stages; however, such hybrid constructs present great opportunities to engineer theranostic nanoscale delivery systems, which can combine simultaneous therapeutic and imaging functions. Many novel nanoparticles of varying chemical compositions are being developed in nanotechnology laboratories, but further chemical modification is often required to make these structures compatible with the biological milieu in vitro and in vivo.