PDT-active upconversion nanoheaters for targeted imaging guided combinatorial cancer phototherapies with low-power single NIR excitation

Najim Akhtar, Chuan Lin Chen, Surojit Chattopadhyay*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

A versatile nanoformulation is designed by anchoring human transferrin protein (Tf) on fluoromagnetic upconverting nanoheaters, NaGdF4:Yb,Er (UCNP), loaded with Rose Bengal (RB), for multimodal imaging guided synergistic photothermal (PTT) and photodynamic therapy (PDT) at the targeted tumor site. The NIR excitation of the UCNP-RB Forster Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET) pair results in the reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation for PDT, whereas the non-radiative transitions in Er result in the heat required for PTT. The intravenously injected theranostic agent (UCNP@Tf-RB) enabled; (1) combinatorial PTT and PDT of 4T1 tumors with minimal systemic toxicity, (2) dual targeted (passive and active) tumor accumulation, (3) dual-modal imaging (MRI/photothermal), and, (4) excellent stability and biocompatibility. The in vitro therapy data corroborates the MRI findings that Tf conjugation resulted in actively targeted tumor accumulation via over-expressed transferrin receptors (TfR) on 4T1 cells. Real-time photothermal imaging enabled visualization of the tumor while receiving the therapy. The UCNP@Tf-RB, for synergistic PTT-PDT, and UCNP@Tf, for PTT only, caused rapid suppression of tumor with a tumor-growth inhibition index (TGII) of ~0.91, and 0.79, respectively. Histopathological examination demonstrated minimal damage to non-targeted tissues and caused significant damage to the tumor. This theranostic methodology enhances anti-cancer therapeutic efficiency, and announces the potential for pre-clinical cancer therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number213117
JournalBiomaterials Advances
Volume141
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2022

Keywords

  • FRET
  • Photodynamic therapy
  • Photothermal therapy
  • Synergetic dual targeting
  • Upconversion nanoparticles

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