Theranostics 2012; 2(10):1020-1036. doi:10.7150/thno.4847


Light-Activated Content Release from Liposomes

Sarah J. Leung, Marek Romanowski

Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721-0240, USA.


Successful integration of diagnostic and therapeutic actions at the level of individual cells requires new materials that combine biological compatibility with functional versatility. This review focuses on the development of liposome-based functional materials, where payload release is activated by light. Methods of sensitizing liposomes to light have progressed from the use of organic molecular moieties to the use of metallic plasmon resonant structures. This development has facilitated application of near infrared light for activation, which is preferred for its deep penetration and low phototoxicity in biological tissues. Presented mechanisms of light-activated liposomal content release enable precise in vitro manipulation of minute amounts of reagents, but their use in clinical diagnostic and therapeutic applications will require demonstration of safety and efficacy.

Keywords: nanotechnology, nanomedicine, liposomes, drug delivery, plasmon resonance.

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How to cite this article:
Leung SJ, Romanowski M. Light-Activated Content Release from Liposomes. Theranostics 2012; 2(10):1020-1036. doi:10.7150/thno.4847. Available from