The efficient and safe delivery of therapeutic drugs, proteins, and nucleic acids are essential for meaningful therapeutic benefits. The field of nanomedicine shows promising implications in the development of therapeutics by delivering diagnostic and therapeutic compounds. Nanomedicine development has led to significant advances in the design and engineering of nanocarrier systems with supra-molecular structures. Smart mesoporous silica nanoparticles (MSNs), with excellent biocompatibility, tunable physicochemical properties, and site-specific functionalization, offer efficient and high loading capacity as well as robust and targeted delivery of a variety of payloads in a controlled fashion. Such unique nanocarriers should have great potential for challenging biomedical applications, such as tissue engineering, bioimaging techniques, stem cell research, and cancer therapies. However, in vivo applications of these nanocarriers should be further validated before clinical translation. To this end, this review begins with a brief introduction of MSNs properties, targeted drug delivery, and controlled release with a particular emphasis on their most recent diagnostic and therapeutic applications.
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