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Photodynamic therapy (PDT) and photothermal therapy (PTT) are emerging modalities for the treatment of tumors and non-malignant conditions, based on the use of photosensitizers to generate singlet oxygen or heat, respectively, upon light (laser) irradiation. They have potential advantages over conventional treatments, being minimally-invasive with precise spatial-temporal selectivity and reduced side effects. However, most clinically-employed PDT agents are activated at visible wavelengths for which the tissue penetration and, hence, effective treatment depth are compromised. In addition, the lipophilicity of near-infrared photothermal agents limits their use and efficiency. To achieve combined PDT/PTT effects, both excitation wavelengths need to be tuned into the near-infrared spectral window of biological tissues. This paper reports the synthesis of neodymium-doped upconversion nanoparticles (NaYF :Yb,Er,Nd@NaYF :Nd) that convert 800 nm light into visible wavelengths, which can then activate conventional photosensitizers on the nanoparticle surface for PDT. Covalently bonded IR-780 dyes can readily be activated by 800 nm laser irradiation. The PEGylated nanoplatform exhibited a narrow size distribution, good stability and efficient generation of singlet oxygen under laser irradiation. The in vitro photocytotoxicity of this engineered nanoplatform as either a PDT or PTT agent in HeLa cells is demonstrated, while fluorescence microscopy in nanoplatform-incubated cells highlights its potential for bio-imaging. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Journal of biophotonics
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