Abstract: Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a promising therapeutic modality for cancer. However, current protocols using bare drugs suffer from several limitations that impede its beneficial clinical effects. Here, we introduce a new approach for an efficient PDT treatment. It involves conjugating a PDT agent, meso-tetrahydroxyphenylchlorin (mTHPC) photosensitizer, to gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) that serve as carriers for the drug. AuNPs have a number of characteristics that make them highly suitable to function as drug carriers: they are biocompatible, serve as biomarkers, and function as contrast agents in vitro and in vivo. We synthesized AuNPs and covalently conjugated the mTHPC drug molecules through a linker. The resultant functional complex, AuNP−mTHPC, is a stable, soluble compound. SH-SY5Y human neuroblastoma cells were incubated with the complex, showing possible administration of higher doses of drug when conjugated to the AuNPs. Then cells were irradiated with a laser beam at 650 nm to mimic the PDT procedure. Our study shows higher rates of cell death in cells incubated with the AuNP−mTHPC complex compared to the incubation with the free drug. Using the new complex may form the basis for a better PDT strategy for a wide range of cancers.
Keywords: Photodynamic Therapy (PDT), Singlet Oxygen, Photosensitizer, SH-SY5Y Cells, Nanoparticles