Optical Properties of Photodynamic Therapy Drugs in Different Environments: The Paradigmatic Case of Temoporfin

Computational tools have been used to study the photophysical and photochemical features of photosensitizers in photodynamic therapy (PDT) –a minimally invasive, less aggressive alternative for cancer treatment. PDT is mainly based by the activation of molecular oxygen through the action of a photoexcited sensitizer (photosensitizer). Temoporfin, widely known as mTHPC, is a second-generation photosensitizer, which produces the cytotoxic singlet oxygen when irradiated with visible light and hence destroys tumor cells. However, the bioavailability of the mostly hydrophobic photosensitizer, and hence its incorporation into the cells, is fundamental to achieve the desired effect on malignant tissues by PDT. In this study, we focus on the optical properties of the temoporfin chromophore in different environments –in vacuo, in solution, encapsulated in drug delivery agents, namely cyclodextrin, and interacting with a lipid bilayer.