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J Am Chem Soc. 2012 Aug 15;134(32):13184-7. doi: 10.1021/ja304986t. Epub 2012 Aug 2.

Chemical molecule-induced light-activated system for anticancer and antifungal activities.

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Beijing National Laboratory for Molecular Science, Institute of Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100190, P. R. China.


Except for chemotherapy, surgery, and radiotherapy, photodynamic therapy (PDT) as new therapy modality is already in wide clinic use for the treatment of various diseases. The major bottleneck of this technique is the requirement of outer light source, which always limits effective application of PDT to the lesions in deeper tissue. Here, we first report a new modality for treating cancer and microbial infections, which is activated by chemical molecules instead of outer light irradiation. In this system, in situ bioluminescence of luminol can be absorbed by a cationic oligo(p-phenylene vinylene) (OPV) that acts as the photosensitizer through bioluminescence resonance energy transfer (BRET) process. The excited OPV sensitizes oxygen molecule in the surroundings to produce reactive oxygen species (ROS) that kill the adjacent cancer cells in vitro and in vivo, and pathogenic microbes. By avoiding the use of light irradiation, this work opens a new therapy modality to tumor and pathogen infections.

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