Angiogenesis imaging with vascular-constrained particles: The why and how
Angiogenesis is a keystone in the treatment of cancer and potentially many other diseases. In cancer, first-generation antiangiogenic therapeutic approaches have demonstrated survival benefit in subsets of patients, but their high cost and notable adverse side effect risk have fueled alternative development efforts to personalize patient selection and reduce off-target effects. In parallel, rapid advances in cost-effective genomic profiling and sensitive early detection of high-risk biomarkers for cancer, atherosclerosis, and other angiogenesis-related pathologies will challenge the medical imaging community to identify, characterize, and risk stratify patients early in the natural history of these disease processes. Conventional diagnostic imaging techniques were not intended for such sensitive and specific detection, which has led to the emergence of novel noninvasive biomedical imaging approaches. The overall intent of molecular imaging is to achieve greater quantitative characterization of pathologies based on microanatomical, biochemical, or functional assessments; in many approaches, the capacity to deliver effective therapy, e.g., antiangiogenic therapy, can be combined. Agents with both diagnostic and therapy attributes have acquired the moniker "theranostics." This review will explore biomedical imaging options being pursued to better segment and treat patients with angiogenesis-influenced disease using vascular-constrained contrast platform technologies.