An Engineered Nanocomplex with Photodynamic and Photothermal Synergistic Properties for Cancer Treatment

Eli Varon, Gaddi Blumrosen, Moshe Sinvani, Elina Haimov, Shlomi Polani, Michal Natan, Irit Shoval, Avi Jacob, Ayelet Atkins, David Zitoun, Orit Shefi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Photodynamic therapy (PDT) and photothermal therapy (PTT) are promising therapeutic methods for cancer treatment; however, as single modality therapies, either PDT or PTT is still lim-ited in its success rate. A dual application of both PDT and PTT, in a combined protocol, has gained immense interest. In this study, gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) were conjugated with a PDT agent, meso‐tetrahydroxyphenylchlorin (mTHPC) photosensitizer, designed as nanotherapeutic agents that can activate a dual photodynamic/photothermal therapy in SH‐SY5Y human neuroblastoma cells. The AuNP‐mTHPC complex is biocompatible, soluble, and photostable. PDT efficiency is high because of immediate reactive oxygen species (ROS) production upon mTHPC activation by the 650‐nm laser, which decreased mitochondrial membrane potential (ψm). Likewise, the AuNP-mTHPC complex is used as a photoabsorbing (PTA) agent for PTT, due to efficient plasmon absorp-tion and excellent photothermal conversion characteristics of AuNPs under laser irradiation at 532 nm. Under the laser irradiation of a PDT/PTT combination, a twofold phototoxicity outcome fol-lows, compared to PDT‐only or PTT‐only treatment. This indicates that PDT and PTT have synergistic effects together as a combined therapeutic method. Our study aimed at applying the AuNP-mTHPC approach as a potential treatment of cancer in the biomedical field.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2286
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Biomaterials
  • Cancer
  • Engineering
  • Nanoparticles
  • Phototherapy


Dive into the research topics of 'An Engineered Nanocomplex with Photodynamic and Photothermal Synergistic Properties for Cancer Treatment'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this