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Chem Soc Rev. 2014 Feb 7;43(3):744-64. doi: 10.1039/c3cs60273g.

Chemical modifications and bioconjugate reactions of nanomaterials for sensing, imaging, drug delivery and therapy.

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  • 1Health Research Institute, AIST, Takamatsu, Kagawa 761-0395, Japan.


As prepared nanomaterials of metals, semiconductors, polymers and carbon often need surface modifications such as ligand exchange, and chemical and bioconjugate reactions for various biosensor, bioanalytical, bioimaging, drug delivery and therapeutic applications. Such surface modifications help us to control the physico-chemical, toxicological and pharmacological properties of nanomaterials. Furthermore, introduction of various reactive functional groups on the surface of nanomaterials allows us to conjugate a spectrum of contrast agents, antibodies, peptides, ligands, drugs and genes, and construct multifunctional and hybrid nanomaterials for the targeted imaging and treatment of cancers. This tutorial review is intended to provide an introduction to newcomers about how chemical and bioconjugate reactions transform the surface of nanomaterials such as silica nanoparticles, gold nanoparticles, gold quantum clusters, semiconductor quantum dots, carbon nanotubes, fullerene and graphene, and accordingly formulate them for applications such as biosensing, bioimaging, drug and gene delivery, chemotherapy, photodynamic therapy and photothermal therapy. Nonetheless, controversial reports and our growing concerns about toxicity and pharmacokinetics of nanomaterials suggest the need for not only rigorous in vivo experiments in animal models but also novel nanomaterials for practical applications in the clinical settings. Further reading of original and review articles cited herein is necessary to buildup in-depth knowledge about the chemistry, bioconjugate chemistry and biological applications of individual nanomaterials.

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