Theranostics 2022; 12(5):2406-2426. doi:10.7150/thno.69189 This issue


Molecular imprinting of glycoproteins: From preparation to cancer theranostics

Muhammad Mujahid Ali1,2, Shoujun Zhu1, Farrukh Raza Amin3, Dilshad Hussain4, Zhenxia Du5✉, Lianghai Hu1✉

1. Center for Supramolecular Chemical Biology, State Key Laboratory of Supramolecular Structure and Materials, School of Life Sciences, Jilin University, Changchun 130023, China.
2. State Key Laboratory of Bioelectronics, National Demonstration Center for Experimental Biomedical Engineering Education, Southeast University, Nanjing 210096, China.
3. Center for Climate Research and Development COMSATS University Islamabad, Park Road, Tarlai Kalan, 45550, Islamabad, Pakistan.
4. HEJ Research Institute of Chemistry, International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences, University of Karachi, Karachi-75270, Pakistan.
5. College of Chemistry, Beijing Key Laboratory of Environmentally Harmful Chemical Analysis, Beijing University of Chemical Technology, Beijing, 100029, China.

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Ali MM, Zhu S, Amin FR, Hussain D, Du Z, Hu L. Molecular imprinting of glycoproteins: From preparation to cancer theranostics. Theranostics 2022; 12(5):2406-2426. doi:10.7150/thno.69189. Available from

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Graphic abstract

Glycoprotein imprinted polymers have rapidly grown as excellent receptors for cancer targeting, diagnostics, inhibition, and nanomedicines as they specifically target glycans and glycosites overexpressed in various tumors. Compared to natural antibodies, they are easy to synthesize, stable, and cost-efficient. Currently, no study specifically discusses glycoproteins imprinting strategies for cancer theranostics. In this review, firstly we explored various factors involved in designing and synthesis of glycoprotein imprinted materials, including, the characteristics and choice of monomers for imprinting, types of templates and their interactions involved, and the imprinting methods. Secondly, the integration of these MIPs with different probes that have been applied for in vitro and in vivo targeting for cancer diagnostics including biosensing and bioimaging, and image-guided therapeutic applications as nanomedicines. These Glycoprotein imprinted polymers have been found to specifically target the glycoprotein biomarkers and glycosylated cell receptors overexpressed in different cancers and have been reported as excellent diagnostic tools. As nanomedicines, they have been potentially employed in various modes of cancer therapy such as targeted drug delivery, photodynamic therapy, photothermal therapy, and nanoMIPs themselves as therapeutics for locally killing tumor cells. Although the research is still in its early stages and no real-world clinical trials on humans have been conducted, nanoMIPs have a promising future in this field. We believe these findings will pave the way for MIPs in advanced diagnostics, antibody treatment, and immunotherapy as future nanomedicine for real-world cancer theranostics.

Keywords: Molecularly imprinting, Glycoproteins, Biosensing, Cancer theranostics, Proteomics