Porphyrin Metalla-Assemblies Coupled to Cellulose Nanocrystals for PDT and Imaging Applications

13 October 2022, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is an interesting and promising approach to tackle a broad spectrum of cancer types. With the combination of a photosensitizer, light and oxygen, PDT achieves a unique selectivity by the production of localized reactive oxygen species (ROS) inside cells, which leads to their destruction. In addition, the luminescence properties of photosensitizers can be exploited to develop imaging tools. Unfortunately, the cancer selectivity and homogeneity of most photosensitizers are frequently limiting the performances of PDT and cancer detection/characterization by luminescence imaging. Consequently, our study aims to use cellulose nanocrystals to transport and deliver radiolabeled photo-responsive metalla-assemblies to create a new generation of theranostic agents for PDT and imaging applications. The synthesis, structural characterization, cytotoxicity evaluation, and in vivo biodistribution imaging of the compounds are presented. The best candidates show excellent biological activity and selectivity towards ovarian carcinoma cell line (A2780), cisplatin resistant ovarian carcinoma cell line (A2780cis) versus normal human embryonic kidney cells (HEK293T), as well as efficient imaging properties, suggesting a potential use as multimodal theranostic agents.


photodynamic therapy
cellulose nanocrystals
theranostic agent


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