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Adv Drug Deliv Rev. 2008 Dec 14;60(15):1627-37. doi: 10.1016/j.addr.2008.08.003. Epub 2008 Sep 20.

Nanoparticles in photodynamic therapy: an emerging paradigm.

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Division of Bioengineering, National University of Singapore, 117574, Singapore.


Photodynamic therapy (PDT) has emerged as one of the important therapeutic options in management of cancer and other diseases [M. Triesscheijn, P. Baas, J.H. Schellens, F.A. Stewart, Photodynamic therapy in oncology, Oncologist 11 (2006) 1034-1044]. Most photosensitizers are highly hydrophobic and require delivery systems. Previous classification of delivery systems was based on presence or absence of a targeting molecule on the surface [Y.N. Konan, R. Gurny, E. Allemann, State of the art in the delivery of photosensitizers for photodynamic therapy, J. Photochem. Photobiol., B 66 (2002) 89-106]. Recent reports have described carrier nanoparticles with additional active complementary and supplementary roles in PDT. We introduce a functional classification for nanoparticles in PDT to divide them into passive carriers and active participants in photosensitizer excitation. Active nanoparticles are distinguished from non-biodegradable carriers with extraneous functions, and sub-classified mechanistically into photosensitizer nanoparticles, [A.C. Samia, X. Chen, C. Burda, Semiconductor quantum dots for photodynamic therapy, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 125 (2003) 15736-15737, R. Bakalova, H. Ohba, Z. Zhelev, M. Ishikawa, Y. Baba, Quantum dots as photosensitizers? Nat. Biotechnol. 22 (2004) 1360-1361] self-illuminating nanoparticles [W. Chen, J. Zhang, Using nanoparticles to enable simultaneous radiation and photodynamic therapies for cancer treatment, J. Nanosci. Nanotechnology 6 (2006) 1159-1166] and upconverting nanoparticles [P. Zhang, W. Steelant, M. Kumar, M. Scholfield, Versatile photosensitizers for photodynamic therapy at infrared excitation, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 129 (2007) 4526-4527]. Although several challenges remain before they can be adopted for clinical use, these active or second-generation PDT nanoparticles probably offer the best hope for extending the reach of PDT to regions deep in the body.

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