The nanoparticles have the ability to concentrate a number of very different functions from each other in a very small space. In addition, the small size allows nanoparticles to "travel" within the human body, if properly engineered, to selectively accumulate in target organs. Once in the desired site, the properties of the nanoparticles can be used for diagnostic purposes by means of conventional techniques (nuclear magnetic resonance, computed tomography) or advanced ones (raman imaging). Starting from laser assisted approaches, innovative solutions for nanomedicine can be developed. In particular (but not only), nanostructured contrast agents for multimodal biomedical imaging.
Treatment and diagnosis of cancer by means of laser radiation using nanoparticles as sensitizers is also possible. The laser radiation can also be applied at a great distance, can pass through transparent materials, can be turned “on" and "off" at will and can resonate only with materials having the right electronic properties: all these characteristics means that light has enormous potential for the diagnosis and therapy of cancer.
On the other hand, the nanoparticles can be constructed as to selectively respond to laser radiation, to generate a series of signals to assist the work of surgeons in the localization, identification, therapy and even destruction of the tumor tissues, all via the use of laser radiation.
The research in this area concerns the realization and optimization of nanosystems for diagnosis and therapy of cancer using laser radiation at different wavelengths.