The advent of nanotechnology has opened up enormous opportunities in the bio-sensing area, allowing the fabrication of constructs that are small enough to be targeted in the interior of single living cells and their intracellular compartments. Nanotechnology has great potential for diagnosis, therapy and treatment, its numerous applications in clinical practice have already emerged giving rise to the contemporary fast growing field of nanomedicine. In the last two decades, the localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR) effect of noble metallic nanoparticles (MNPs) has been the subject of intense research efforts. This effect is exploited in Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (SERS), a molecular detection method which provides high sensitivity and specificity. In recent years, it has been reported that SERS is one of the leading techniques for molecular analysis with sensitivity up to the single molecule. Owing to this tremendous signal enhancement, SERS has been the object of great interest in many areas of science and technology including chemical analysis, catalysis, biological sensors, imaging and sensing leading to both diagnostics and therapies. MNPs have been used in various areas of medical treatment: they are emerging as new carrier and contrast agents in cancer treatment combining both diagnosis (imaging) and selective therapy. Furthermore, they have been used for imaging of tumor cells. In fact, once in place, these nano-objects when decorated with suitable molecular reporters can be readily traced by different spectroscopic techniques, thus allowing their localization in the cellular environment.
Marianna Pannico is a researcher at the Institute for Polymers, Composites and Biomaterials (IPCB) of the National Research Council of Italy. She is doctor in Chemistry and in 2010 she got her Ph.D in Materials and Structures Engineering at University of Napoli “Federico II”. She is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Math at “University of Maryland University College (UMUC)” Europe. She does research in Physical Chemistry, Polymer Chemistry and Materials Chemistry. Her research activity in mainly focused on plasmonic nanomaterials for the analytical and bio-sensing applications of SERS spectroscopy. She is an expert of Raman Spectroscopy, confocal Raman imaging, Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (SERS) and Infrared spectroscopy (FTIR, FT-NIR, IR microspectroscopy). She is really interested in theranostic applications of metallic nanoparticles in nanomedicine.