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ACS Appl Mater Interfaces. 2018 Jan 10;10(1):248-255. doi: 10.1021/acsami.7b15581. Epub 2017 Dec 27.

Nanoscale Organic-Inorganic Hybrid Photosensitizers for Highly Effective Photodynamic Cancer Therapy.

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Key Laboratory for Organic Electronics and Information Displays (KLOEID) & Jiangsu Key Laboratory for Biosensors, Institute of Advanced Materials (IAM), Jiangsu National Synergistic Innovation Center for Advanced Materials (SICAM), Nanjing University of Posts and Telecommunications (NUPT) , Nanjing 210023, China.


Recently, photodynamic therapy (PDT) has attracted significant attention as a minimally invasive approach for cancer treatment. Clinical applications of current photosensitizers are often limited by their poor water solubility, low singlet oxygen (1O2) quantum yields, long-term toxicity, instability, and complex nanostructures. Here, we report a rational design of polyhedral oligomeric silsesquioxanes (POSSs)-based porphyrin (PPP5000) used as an intrinsically nanoscale photosensitizer. In this strategy, inorganic 3D rigid block POSSs not only act as antiaggregate units but also provide conjugating reactive sites for further chemical modification. Without an additional carrier and formulation process, PPP5000 intrinsically shows high water solubility (∼40 mg/mL), good PDT efficiency, and more excellent anticancer performance compared to tetra(hydroxyphenyl)porphyrin (the parent compound of m-THPC, Foscan). Considering the organic nature of porphyrin and the biodegradable property of inorganic POSS scaffolds at physiological conditions, the present work may lead to a new generation of biodegradable and intrinsic PDT agents with overall performance superior to conventional agents in terms of 1O2 production efficiency, water solubility, structurally stability, photostability, and biocompatibility.


antiaggregate; enhanced 1O2 efficiency; photodynamic therapy; polyhedral oligomeric silsesquioxanes (POSSs); porphyrin

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