The photodynamic therapy of cancer is contingent upon the sustained generation of singlet oxygen in the tumor region. However, tumors of the most metastatic cancer types develop a region of severe hypoxia, which puts them beyond the reach of most therapeutic protocols. More troublesome, photodynamic action generates acute hypoxia as the process itself diminishes cellular oxygen reserves, which makes it a self-limiting method. Herein, we describe a new concept that could eventually lead to a change in the 100 year old paradigm of photodynamic therapy and potentially offer solutions to some of the lingering problems. When gold nanorods with tethered endoperoxides are irradiated at 808 nm, the endoperoxides undergo thermal cycloreversion, resulting in the generation of singlet oxygen. We demonstrate that the amount of singlet oxygen produced in this way is sufficient for triggering apoptosis in cell cultures. EPT sees the light: When gold nanorods with tethered endoperoxides are irradiated with near-infrared light, the endoperoxides undergo thermal cycloreversion, resulting in the generation of singlet oxygen. The amount of singlet oxygen generated by these nanocomposites is sufficient for triggering apoptosis in cell cultures.
- photodynamic therapy
- singlet oxygen