Phthalocyanine-based Targetable Photothermal Theragnostic Contrast Agent for Photoacoustic Imaging and Photothermal Therapy

Donghyeon Oh, Sinyoung Park, Mengyao Yang, Yunyoung Nah, Junha Lim, Xingshu Li, Won Jong Kim, Juyoung Yoon, Chulhong Kim

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


Photothermal therapy (PTT) is a type of noninvasive, topical cancer treatment technique with photosensitive reagent that thermally reacts to a local laser irradiation over malignant tumor site. While phthalocyanine (Pc) variates are promising photosensitizer candidate having an excellent optical property tuned to deep penetrating near-infrared (NIR)-I window and generates high yield of reactive oxygen series, the hydrophobic characteristic of Pc does not withstand to general intravenous administration, which greatly limits the dye to penetrate into tumor tissue and ultimately lowers the treatment efficacy. The noncovalent conjugation with electron-rich transferrin (TF) not only increase the solubility of the dye, and but also quench the fluorescence and incapacitate strong photoinduced electron transfer required for reactive oxygen generation, which feeds back the dye to transform into interconvertible photothermal theragnostic contrast agent both for photoacoustic (PA) imaging and PTT. Moreover, the TF receptor-rich tumor cells are actively targetable and mediate high accumulation to the tumor site. The in vitro experiment demonstrated the feasible PA absorption spectra of ZnPcN4-TF, and extended aggregation test revealed the homogeneous superiority of ZnPcN4-TF compared to ZnPcN4 lumps. Lastly, the 72-hour in vivo whole-body photoacoustic imaging of MCF-7 tumor bearing mice was sequentially taken under two nominal wavelengths (710 nm as peak PA signal level, 800 nm as noise-equivalent level). From the result, the increased liver uptake verified the enhanced solubility, and active targetability toward MCF-7 tumor cell appeared in 54% PA signal level increase at maximum in after 8-hour postinjection.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPhotons Plus Ultrasound
Subtitle of host publicationImaging and Sensing 2023
EditorsAlexander A. Oraevsky, Lihong V. Wang
ISBN (Electronic)9781510658639
StatePublished - 2023
EventPhotons Plus Ultrasound: Imaging and Sensing 2023 - San Francisco, United States
Duration: 29 Jan 20231 Feb 2023

Publication series

NameProgress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging - Proceedings of SPIE
ISSN (Print)1605-7422


ConferencePhotons Plus Ultrasound: Imaging and Sensing 2023
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported in part by the Basic Science Research Program through the NRF funded by the Ministry of Education (2020R1A6A1A03047902), by the NRF grant funded by the Ministry of Science and ICT (MSIT) (NRF2019R1A2C2006269), by the National R&D Program through the NRF funded by the MSIT (2020M3H2A1078045), by the Korea Medical Device Development Fund grant funded by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (202011B02), and by BK 21 Four project Experiments at PLS II were supported in part by MSIT and POSTECH.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 SPIE.


  • Contrast agent
  • Contrast agent
  • Cyanine
  • Photoacoustics
  • Phthalocyanine


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