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14 March 2014 Porphyrin-based polysilsesquioxane nanoparticles to improve photodynamic therapy for cancer treatment
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Photodynamic therapy (PDT) has emerged as an alternative approach to chemotherapy and radiotherapy for cancer treatment. The photosensitizer (PS) is perhaps the most critical component of PDT, and continues to be an area of intense scientific research. Traditionally, PS molecules (e.g. porphyrins) have dominated the field. Nevertheless, these PS agents have several disadvantages, with low water solubility, poor light absorption and reduced selectivity for targeted tissues being some of the main drawbacks. Polysilsesquioxane (PSilQ) nanoparticles are crosslinked homopolymers formed by the condensation of functionalized trialkoxysilanes or bis(trialkoxysilanes). We believe that PSilQ particles provide an interesting platform for developing PS nanocarriers. Several advantages can be foreseen by using this platform such as carrying a large payload of PS molecules; their surface and composition can be tailored to develop multifunctional systems (e.g. target-specific); and due to their small size, nanoparticles can penetrate deep into tissues and be readily internalized by cells. In this work, PSilQ nanoparticles with a high payload of photosensitizers were synthesized, characterized, and applied in vitro. The network of this nanomaterial is formed by protoporphyrin IX (PpIX) molecules chemically connected via a redox-responsive linker. Under reducing environment such as the one found in cancer cells the nanoparticles can be degraded to efficiently release single photosensitizers in the cytoplasm. The phototoxicity of this porphyrin-based PSilQ nanomaterial was successfully demonstrated in vitro using human cervical (HeLa) cancer cells. We envision that this platform can be further functionalized with polyethylene glycol (PEG) and targeting ligands to improve its biocompatibility and target specificity.
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Juan L. Vivero-Escoto, Daniel DeCillis, Laura Fritts, and Daniel L. Vega "Porphyrin-based polysilsesquioxane nanoparticles to improve photodynamic therapy for cancer treatment", Proc. SPIE 8931, Optical Methods for Tumor Treatment and Detection: Mechanisms and Techniques in Photodynamic Therapy XXIII, 89310Z (14 March 2014);

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