Switchable phototheranostic nanomaterials are of particular interest for specific biosensing, high-quality imaging, and targeted therapy in the field of precision nanomedicine. Here, we develop a "one-for-all" nanomaterial that self-assembles from flexible and versatile phthalocyanine building blocks. The nanostructured phthalocyanine assemblies (NanoPcTBs) display intrinsically unique photothermal and photoacoustic properties. Fluorescence and reactive oxygen species generation can be triggered depending on a targeted, protein-induced, partial disassembly mechanism, which creates opportunities for low-background fluorescence imaging and activatable photodynamic therapy. In vitro evaluations indicate that NanoPcTB has a high selectivity for biotin receptor-positive cancer cells (e.g., A549) compared to biotin receptor-negative cells (e.g., WI38-VA13) and permits a combined photodynamic and photothermal therapeutic effect. Following systemic administration, the NanoPcTBs accumulate in A549 tumors of xenograft-bearing mice, and laser irradiation clearly induces the inhibition of tumor growth.
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© 2017 American Chemical Society.