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J Photochem Photobiol B. 2002 Mar;66(2):89-106.

State of the art in the delivery of photosensitizers for photodynamic therapy.

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  • 1University of Geneva, School of Pharmacy, CH-1211 Geneva 4, Switzerland.


In photodynamic therapy, one of the problems limiting the use of many photosensitizers (PS) is the difficulty in preparing pharmaceutical formulations that enable their parenteral administration. Due to their low water solubility, the hydrophobic PS cannot be simply injected intravenously. Different strategies, including polymer-PS conjugation or encapsulation of the drug in colloidal carriers such as oil-dispersions, liposomes and polymeric particles, have been investigated. Although these colloidal carriers tend to accumulate selectively in tumour tissues, they are rapidly taken up by the mononuclear phagocytic system. In order to reduce this undesirable uptake by phagocytic cells, long-circulating carriers that consist of surface modified carriers have been developed. Moreover, considerable effort has been directed towards using other types of carriers to improve tumour targeting and to minimize the side effects. One of the approaches is to entrap PS into the lipophilic core of low-density lipoproteins (LDL) without altering their biological properties. The LDL receptor pathway is an important factor in the selective accumulation of PS in tumour tissue owing to the increased number of LDL receptors on the proliferating cell surface. Specific targeting can also be achieved by binding of monoclonal antibodies or specific tumour-seeking molecules to PS or by the coating of PS loaded carriers.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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