In recent times, photo-induced therapeutics have attracted enormous interest from researchers due to such attractive properties as preferential localization, excellent tissue penetration, high therapeutic efficacy, and minimal invasiveness, among others. Numerous photosensitizers have been considered in combination with light to realize significant progress in therapeutics. Along this line, indocyanine green (ICG), a Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved near-infrared (NIR, >750 nm) fluorescent dye, has been utilized in various biomedical applications such as drug delivery, imaging, and diagnosis, due to its attractive physicochemical properties, high sensitivity, and better imaging view field. However, ICG still suffers from certain limitations for its utilization as a molecular imaging probe in vivo, such as concentration-dependent aggregation, poor in vitro aqueous stability and photodegradation due to various physicochemical attributes. To overcome these limitations, much research has been dedicated to engineering numerous multifunctional polymeric composites for potential biomedical applications. In this review, we aim to discuss ICG-encapsulated polymeric nanoconstructs, which are of particular interest in various biomedical applications. First, we emphasize some attractive properties of ICG (including physicochemical characteristics, optical properties, metabolic features, and other aspects) and some of its current limitations. Next, we aim to provide a comprehensive overview highlighting recent reports on various polymeric nanoparticles that carry ICG for light-induced therapeutics with a set of examples. Finally, we summarize with perspectives highlighting the significant outcome, and current challenges of these nanocomposites.
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