Theranostics: a revolution in cancer treatment

Nanomédecine : les nanomatériaux au service du theranostique.

A New Therapeutic Approach

Some cancer patients can now benefit from a new therapeutic approach: theranostics. But what exactly is it? This technique combines both the diagnosis and treatment of tumors, offering an integrated and targeted approach. This method allows not only the identification of tumors via imaging but also their direct treatment. It represents a true revolution in the field of oncology.

Understanding Theranostics

Theranostics combines diagnostic and therapeutic functions in a single procedure. This is achieved primarily through the use of nanovectors (advanced nanomaterials that act as guides, like a “GPS,” to target the tumor). These nanovectors are functionalized, with an active principle added to their surface to treat the tumor.

Selectivity and Precision of Treatment

One of the most remarkable aspects of theranostics is its ability to target cancer cells exclusively while sparing healthy cells. “The key only fits the lock,” meaning the vectors will only affect the diseased cells. The goal is to minimize side effects and damage to healthy tissues.

What Are the Advantages of Theranostics?

Compared to other cancer treatments, theranostics offers several significant advantages:

  1. Precise Detection of Cancer Cells: The vectors are visible in scans or MRIs, allowing for precise mapping of tumors.
  2. Targeted Treatment: Damage to healthy cells is significantly reduced compared to traditional chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
  3. Monitoring Treatment Efficacy: The vectors enable verification of whether cancer cells remain after treatment.
  4. Treatment Efficacy: The nanoparticulate form allows it to bypass certain bodily barriers and closely approach the tumor.

The Challenges and Issues of Theranostics

Despite its promises, theranostics also presents challenges. Firstly, it relies on the quality of the nanovector used. For the treatment to work, the nanovectors must be known and identified. Their effects on and within the human body must be understood. Additionally, these nanovectors must be perfectly characterized and reproducible, with reproducibility being one of the most significant challenges in nanoparticle chemistry.

The success of the treatment also depends on identifying a marker specific to cancer cells that is minimally present in healthy cells. Finding this marker can be difficult and varies depending on the type of cancer.

Many teams worldwide are working to overcome these obstacles. Recently, a company in the Rhône-Alpes region announced in a publication that they had found a theranostic solution to combat uterine cancer. These results were recently published in a scientific journal. These encouraging paths will require standardization of processes to be deployed on a larger scale, benefiting more patients.


Theranostics represents a major advancement in the treatment of prostate and breast cancers. By combining diagnosis and therapy, this revolution is expected to improve treatment performance and patient quality of life. Although challenges remain, progress in this field promises to radically transform cancer care and open new therapeutic perspectives.

At SON, we are committed to achieving this goal. We are proud to contribute to medical research and the fight against cancer.