Light emitted as the result of high-energy particle transport through biological tissues (Cerenkov radiation) can be exploited for noninvasive diagnostic imaging using high sensitivity scientific cameras. We have investigated the energy transfer potential of Cerenkov radiation, discovering a new phototherapeutic technique for treatment of localized and disseminated cancers. This technique, Cerenkov radiation-induced phototherapy (CRIT), like photodynamic therapy, requires the presence of both light and photosensitive agent together to induce cytotoxicity and effective cancer treatment. But unlike conventional phototherapy strategies in which tissue ablation or activation of photoactive molecules is limited to superficial structures, radiation-induced phototherapy enables phototherapy delivery to the tumor sites throughout the body. Titanium oxide nanoparticles, which produce cytotoxic reactive oxygen species upon irradiation with UV light, were targeted to tumor tissue by surface decoration with transferrin. Subsequent administration of tumor-avid radiotracer, 18-fluorodeoxyglucose (18FDG) provided localized UV light source via Cerenkov radiation. Treatment of tumor-bearing mice with the combination of Titanium nanoparticles and 18FDG resulted in effective reduction in tumor growth, while individual agents were not therapeutic. This new strategy in cancer therapy extends the reach of phototherapy beyond what was previously possible, with potential for treatment of cancer metastases and rescue from treatment resistance.
Walter J. Akers, Samuel Achilefu, and Nalinikanth Kotagiri, "Cerenkov radiation-induced phototherapy for depth-independent cancer treatment (Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 10049, Molecular-Guided Surgery: Molecules, Devices, and Applications III, 1004914 (Presented at SPIE BiOS: January 30, 2017; Published: 19 April 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2255910.5370181496001.
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