Bioimaging and therapeutic delivery applications are areas of biomedicine where nanoparticles have had significant impact, but the use of a nanomaterial in these applications can be limited by its physicochemical properties. Calcium phosphate-based composite nanoparticles are nontoxic and biodegradable, and are therefore considered attractive candidates for bioimaging and therapeutic drug delivery applications. Also, the pH-dependent solubility profiles of calcium phosphate materials make this class of nanoparticles especially useful for in vitro and in vivo delivery of dyes, oligonucleotides, and drugs. In this article, we discuss how calcium phosphate-based composite nanoparticles fulfill some of the requirements typically made for nanoparticles in biomedical applications. We also highlight recent studies in bioimaging and therapeutic delivery applications focusing on how these studies have addressed some of the challenges associated with using these nanoparticles in bioimaging and delivery of therapeutics. WIREs Nanomed Nanobiotechnol 2012, 4:96–112. doi: 10.1002/wnan.163
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Conflict of interest: Penn State Research Foundation has licensed calcium phosphate and calcium phosphosilicate technology to Keystone Nano., Inc. J.H.A. and M.K. are CSO and CMO of Keystone Nano, Inc, respectively.