NIR excitation of new upconversion-photosensitizer nanohybrids induces oxygen-mediated cancer cell death
Julia Pérez-Prieto a, Valerio Voliani a, Laura Francés-Soriano a, María González-Béjar a, Juan C. Scaiano a b, Emilio I. Alarcon b, Marta Liras b, Vicente Herranz-Pérez c d, Maria Duran-Moreno c d, Jose M. Garcia-Verdugo c d
a Universidad de Valencia, PO Box 22085, Valencia, Spain
b Department of Chemistry and Centre for Catalysis Research and Innovation
c Laboratorio de Neurobiología Comparada, Instituto Cavanilles de Biodiversidad y Biología Evolutiva, C/ Catedrático José Beltrán, 2, 46980 Paterna, Universidad de Valencia, CIBERNED, Valencia, Spain
d Unidad mixta de Esclerosis múltiple y neurorregeneración, IIS Hospital La Fe, Valencia, Spain
Oral, María González-Béjar, presentation 001
Publication date: 10th April 2014


Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a non-invasive cancer treatment that after selective delivery/administration of a photosensitizer (PS) uses light as an activator to produce reactive oxygen species for sequential cancer eradication. 1,2


Multifunctional nanosystems that integrate multiple materials with different properties can provide new opportunities for simultaneous diagnosis and therapy of diseases. In this regard, the search for efficient PDT-PS/nanomaterial nanohybrids has been encouraging research in the last decade.1


Several methods to make water-dispersible NaYF4:Er3+,Yb3+ up-conversion nanoparticles (UCNPs) loaded with singlet oxygen photosensitizers have recently been reported.1 The drawbacks of some of these systems are the low PS payload and/or its leaching under experimental conditions.


We present here the preparation of water-dispersible nanohybrids (ca. 30 nm) containing NaYF4:Er3+,Yb3+ up-conversion nanoparticles (UCNPs), capped with a  polymer  and highly-loaded with a non-commercial singlet oxygen photosensitizer. Our novel strategy to load the photosensitizer allowed for an effective energy transfer and, additionally, avoided photosensitizer leaching from the nanohybrid. The effectiveness of the nanohybrids for generating singlet oxygen after near-infrared (NIR) excitation (975 nm) with a continuous wavelength (CW) laser was evidenced by using a probe molecule. In vitro assays demonstrated that the  nanohybrid was taken up by the human neuroblastoma-derived cells showing low cytotoxicity. Moreover, ca. 50% cancer cell death was observed after NIR irradiation (45 min, 239mW).


(1)Wang, C.; Cheng, L.; Liu, Z. Theranostics 2013, 3, 317-330.


(2)Dougherty, T. J. Photochem. Photobiol. 1993, 58, 895-900.


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