Can you treat cancer this way too?! Really?!!

Writers Choice: Amphiphilic chitosan modified upconversion nanoparticles for in vivo photodynamic therapy induced by near-infrared light

Imagine a scenario where one morning, a close friend of yours calls you and painfully conveys the news of him being diagnosed with cancer and you, instead of sitting horrified and helpless, casually say “Hey don’t worry man, we have PDT!” That sounds fascinating right?! Yes, Photodynamic therapy has shown potential to do that. With the same fascination towards the idea of photodynamic therapy, inventors of PDT pursued research on this therapy and shaped an unconventional out of box method of treating cancer.  The simple mechanism of working of this technique is widely known. Drugs used in this technique are light sensitive. In response to specific light irradiated on the drug molecule, it converts surrounding molecular oxygen into form of oxygen which kills nearby cancer cells. The reasons this therapy called as out of box here are multifold. First, there are many photosensitizers easily available approved by FDA which can easily respond to specific light and produced the effect explained above. Second it makes use of naturally available oxygen molecules surrounding cancer cells. Last and importantly all the conventional drugs/ therapies for the cancer are immunosuppressive meaning they suppress our immune system after treatment unlike PDT, which is immunostimulative which stimulates immune system of the patient after treatment.

Proving very promising in its early years of research, PDT faces a major challenge.  Light sensitive drugs usually respond to visible light. Visible light’s penetration in the tissues and cells is poor because it is mostly absorbed and hence the drug does not get sufficient light to tackle cancer cells (This is the low penetration depth of visible light). This is a major bottleneck in PDT’s usage and is being addressed by researchers all over the globe.

In one very fine effort by Sisi Cui etal they try to address the problem stated above in very interesting way. The key fact they have exploited here is though visible light’s penetration in the tissue and biological matter is weak but near infer red (NIR) light can penetrate deeply in the same tissue without any problem.  So NIR light can be good alternative to visible light. Here Sisi Cui etal synthesized NaYF4(Er,Yb) nanoparticles ( upconversion nanoparticles) which can convert NIR light to visible light. A chitosan derivative (biocompatible polymer) has coated these nanoparticles with drugs deposited on their surface. So upconversion nanoparticles and light sensitive drug are in close proximity of each other. So when NIR light is irradiated, upcoversion nanoparticles convert that light in visible light( drug is essentially insensitive to NIR light) and transfers that light to the drug which in response coverts surrounding oxygen from the molecular form to the form which can kill the cancer cells. This study which is cited below has not only addressed the problems associated with the synthesis of hydrophilic NaYF4 nanoparticles brilliantly, but also shown that the scheme they have proposed works successfully which they have demonstrated actually by killing in vitro cancer cells.

Amphiphilic chitosan modified upconversion nanoparticles for in vivo photodynamic therapy induced by near-infrared light
Sisi Cui, Haiyan Chen, Hongyan Zhu, Junmei Tian, Xuemei Chi, Zhiya Qian, Samuel Achilefu and Yueqing Gu
J. Mater. Chem. C, 2012, 22, 4861-4873. DOI:10.1039/C2JM16112E

Padmanabh Joshi is a guest web writer for the Journal of Materials Chemistry blog. He currently works at the Department of Chemistry, University of Cincinnati.

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    Hãy tưởng tượng một kịch bản mà một buổi sáng, một người bạn thân của bạn gọi cho bạn và đau đớn truyền tải các tin tức của ông được chẩn đoán mắc bệnh ung thư và bạn, thay vì ngồi sợ hãi và bất lực, tình cờ nói “Hey không lo lắng người đàn ông, chúng tôi có PDT!” Nghe có vẻ hấp dẫn quyền?! Có, liệu pháp quang động đã cho thấy tiềm năng để làm điều đó. Với những niềm đam mê cùng một đối với ý tưởng của quang trị liệu, nhà phát minh của PDT theo đuổi nghiên cứu về trị liệu này và có hình dạng một độc đáo ra khỏi hộp phong kham dieu tri ung thu. Cơ chế đơn giản làm việc của kỹ thuật này được biết đến. Thuốc được sử dụng trong kỹ thuật này là ánh sáng nhạy cảm. Đối phó với cụ thể ánh sáng chiếu xạ trên các phân tử ma túy, nó chuyển đổi xung quanh các phân tử oxy vào hình thức của oxy mà giết chết gần đó tế bào ung thư. Lý do các liệu pháp này gọi là khi ra khỏi hộp dưới đây là việc. Trước tiên, có rất nhiều nhạy dễ dàng có sẵn, được chấp thuận bởi FDA có thể dễ dàng đối phó với ánh sáng cụ thể và sản xuất các hiệu ứng giải thích ở trên. Thứ hai nó làm cho việc sử dụng phân tử oxy đều có sẵn ở xung quanh tế bào ung thư. Cuối cùng và quan trọng tất cả các loại thuốc thông thường / phương pháp điều trị cho bệnh ung thư là immunosuppressive có nghĩa là họ ngăn chặn hệ thống miễn dịch của chúng tôi sau khi điều trị không giống như PDT, mà là immunostimulative kích thích hệ thống miễn dịch của bệnh nhân sau khi điều trị.

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