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ACS Appl Mater Interfaces. 2019 Feb 13;11(6):5791-5803. doi: 10.1021/acsami.8b19042. Epub 2019 Jan 30.

Ce6-Modified Carbon Dots for Multimodal-Imaging-Guided and Single-NIR-Laser-Triggered Photothermal/Photodynamic Synergistic Cancer Therapy by Reduced Irradiation Power.

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Key Laboratory of Graphene Technologies and Applications of Zhejiang Province , Ningbo Institute of Materials Technology & Engineering, Chinese Academy of Sciences , Ningbo 315201 , P. R. China.
University of Chinese Academy of Sciences , Beijing 100049 , P. R. China.
Institute of Biomedical and Health Engineering , Shenzhen Institutes of Advanced Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences , Shenzhen 518055 , P. R. China.
College of Chemistry and Molecular Engineering , Zhengzhou University , Zhengzhou 45001 , P. R. China.


Photomediated cancer therapy, mainly including photothermal (PT) therapy (PTT) and photodynamic therapy (PDT), has attracted tremendous attention in recent years thanks to its noninvasive and stimuli-responsive features. The single mode of PTT or PDT, however, has obvious drawbacks, either requiring high-power laser irradiation to generate enough heat or only providing limited efficacy due to the hypoxia nature inside tumors. In addition, the reported synergistic PTT/PDT generally utilized two excitation sources to separately activate PTT and PDT, and the problem of high-power laser irradiation for PTT was still not well solved. Herein, a new concept, loading a small amount of photosensitizers onto a PTT agent (both of them can be triggered by a single-near-infrared (NIR) laser), was proposed to evade the shortcomings of PTT and PDT. To validate this idea, minute quantities of photosensitizer chlorin e6 (Ce6) (0.56% of mass) were anchored onto amino-rich red emissive carbon dots (RCDs) that possess superior photothermal (PT) character under 671 nm NIR laser (PT conversion efficiency to be 46%), and meanwhile the PDT of Ce6 can be activated by this laser irradiation as well. The findings demonstrate that Ce6-modified RCDs (named Ce6-RCDs) offer much higher cancer therapy efficacy under a reduced laser power density (i.e., 0.50 W cm-2 at 671 nm) in vitro and in vivo than the equivalent RCDs or Ce6 under the same irradiation conditions. Besides, the Ce6-RCDs also exhibit multimodal imaging capabilities (i.e., fluorescence (FL), photoacoustic (PA), and PT), which can be employed for guidance of the phototherapy process. This study suggests not only a strategy to enhance cancer phototherapy efficacy but also a promising candidate (i.e., Ce6-RCDs) for multimodal FL/PA/PT imaging-guided and single-NIR-laser-triggered synergistic PTT/PDT for cancers by a reduced irradiation power.


carbon dots; multimodal imaging; photodynamic; photothermal; reducing irradiation power; single-NIR-laser irradiation; synergistic therapy

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