Rationally Designed Long-Wavelength Absorbing Ru(II) Polypyridyl Complexes as Photosensitizers for Photodynamic Therapy

17 December 2019, Version 1


The utilization of Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) for the treatment of various types of cancer has gained increasing attention over the last decades. Despite the clinical success of approved photosensitizers (PSs), their application is limited due to poor water solubility, aggregation, photodegradation, and slow clearance from the body. To overcome these drawbacks, research efforts are devoted towards the development of metal complexes and especially Ru(II) polypyridine complexes based on their attractive photophysical and biological properties. Despite the recent research developments, the vast majority of complexes utilize blue or UV-A light to obtain a PDT effect, limiting the penetration depth inside the tissue and therefore, the possibility to treat deep-seated or large tumors. To circumvent these drawbacks, we present the first example of the DFT guided search for efficient PDT PSs with a substantial spectral red shift towards the biological spectral window. Thanks to this design, we have unveiled a Ru(II) polypyridine complex, which causes phototoxicity in the very-low micromolar-to-nanomolar range at clinically relevant 595 nm, in monolayer cells as well as in 3D multicellular tumor spheroids.


Bioinorganic chemistry
Medicinal Inorganic Chemistry
Metals in Medicine
Photodynamic Therapy

Supplementary materials

SI ChemRxiv


Comments are not moderated before they are posted, but they can be removed by the site moderators if they are found to be in contravention of our Commenting Policy [opens in a new tab] - please read this policy before you post. Comments should be used for scholarly discussion of the content in question. You can find more information about how to use the commenting feature here [opens in a new tab] .
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy [opens in a new tab] and Terms of Service [opens in a new tab] apply.