Photodynamictherapy (PDT) uses a drug called a photosensitizer that is excited by irradiation with a laser light of a
particular wavelength, which generates reactive singlet oxygen that damages the tumor cells. The photosensitizer and
light are inert; therefore, systemic toxicities are minimized in PDT. The synthesis of novel PDT drugs and the use of
nanosized carriers for photosensitizers may improve the efficiency of the therapy and the delivery of the drug. In this
study, we formulated two nanoparticles with and without a targeting ligand to encapsulate phthalocyanines 4 (Pc 4)
molecule and compared their biodistributions. Metastatic human head and neck cancer cells (M4e) were transplanted into nude mice. After 2-3 weeks, the mice were injected with Pc 4, Pc 4 encapsulated into surface coated iron oxide (IO-Pc 4), and IO-Pc 4 conjugated with a fibronectin-mimetic peptide (FMP-IO-Pc 4) which binds specifically to integrin β1. The mice were imaged using a multispectral camera. Using multispectral images, a library of spectral signatures was created and the signal per pixel of each tumor was calculated, in a grayscale representation of the unmixed signal of each drug. An enhanced biodistribution of nanoparticle encapsulated PDT drugs compared to non-formulated Pc 4 was observed. Furthermore, specific targeted nanoparticles encapsulated Pc 4 has a quicker delivery time and accumulation in tumor tissue than the non-targeted nanoparticles. The nanoparticle-encapsulated PDT drug can have a variety of potential applications in cancer imaging and treatment.