Deep-penetrating photodynamic therapy

4 January 2017:

CNBP researchers (Liuen Liang pictured), report on the deployment of upconversion nanoparticles to enhance the treatment depth of the fluorescent protein KillerRed in photodynamic therapy.

The work was published in the journal ‘Acta Biomaterialia’ and is accessible online.

Journal: Acta Biomaterialia.

Title: Deep-penetrating photodynamic therapy with KillerRed mediated by upconversion nanoparticles.

Authors: Liuen Liang, Yiqing Lu, Run Zhang, Andrew Care, Tiago A. Orteg, Sergey M. Deyev, Yi Qian, Andrei V. Zvyagina.

Abstract: The fluorescent protein KillerRed, a new type of biological photosensitizer, is considered as a promising substitute for current synthetic photosensitizes used in photodynamic therapy (PDT). However, broad application of this photosensitiser in treating deep-seated lesions is challenging due to the limited tissue penetration of the excitation light with the wavelength falling in the visible spectral range. To overcome this challenge, we employ upconversion nanoparticles (UCNPs) that are able to convert deep-penetrating near infrared (NIR) light to green light to excite KillerRed locally, followed by the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) to kill tumour cells under centimetre-thick tissue. The photosensitizing bio-nanohybrids, KillerRed-UCNPs, are fabricated through covalent conjugation of KillerRed and UCNPs. The resulting KillerRed-UCNPs exhibit excellent colloidal stability in biological buffers and low cytotoxicity in the dark. Cross-comparison between the conventional KillerRed and UCNP-mediated KillerRed PDT demonstrated superiority of KillerRed-UCNPs photosensitizing by NIR irradiation, manifested by the fact that ∼70% PDT efficacy was achieved at 1-cm tissue depth, whereas that of the conventional KillerRed dropped to ∼7%.