Nanotechnology has facilitated the applications of a class of nanomaterials called superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIONs) in cancer theranostics. This is a new discipline in biomedicine that combines therapy and diagnosis in one platform. The multifunctional SPIONs, which are capable of detecting, visualizing, and destroying the neoplastic cells with fewer side effects than the conventional therapies, are reviewed in this chapter for theranostic applications. The chapter summarizes the design parameters such as size, shape, coating, and target ligand functionalization of SPIONs, which enhance their ability to diagnose and treat cancer. The review discusses the methods of synthesizing SPIONs, their structural, morphological, and magnetic properties that are important for theranostics. The applications of SPIONs for drug delivery, magnetic resonance imaging, and magnetic hyperthermia therapy (MHT) are included. The results of our recent MHT study on Gd-doped SPION as a possible theranostic agent are highlighted. We have also discussed the challenges and outlook on the future research for theranostics in clinical settings.
Part of the book: Nanostructured Materials