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WIREs Nanomed Nanobiotechnol
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Nanocarriers in photodynamic therapy—in vitro and in vivo studies

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Abstract Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a minimally invasive technique which has proven to be successful in the treatment of several types of tumors. This relatively simple method exploits three inseparable elements: phototoxic compound (photosensitizer [PS]), light source, and oxygen. Upon irradiation by light with specified wavelength, PS generates reactive oxygen species, which starts the cascade of reactions leading to cell death. The positive therapeutic outcome of PDT may be limited due to several aspects, including low water solubility of PSs, hampering their effective administration and blood circulation, as well as low tumor specificity, inefficient cellular uptake and activation energies requiring prolonged illumination times. One of the promising approaches to overcome these obstacles involves the use of carrier systems modulating pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of the PSs. In the present review, we summarized current in vitro and in vivo studies regarding the use of nanoparticles as potential delivery devices for PSs to enhance their cellular uptake and cytotoxic properties, and thus—the therapeutic outcome of PDT. This article is categorized under: Therapeutic Approaches and Drug Discovery > Emerging Technologies Nanotechnology Approaches to Biology > Nanoscale Systems in Biology Therapeutic Approaches and Drug Discovery > Nanomedicine for Oncologic Disease
Three inseparable elements of photodynamic therapy
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Chemical structures of natural photosensitizer (PS): (a) hypericin (ex. 590 nm, em. 640 nm); (b) hypocrellin (ex. 470 nm, em. 650 nm); (c) riboflavin (ex. 440 nm, em. 540 nm); and (d) curcumin (ex. 450 nm, em. 510 nm)
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The structures of (a) methylene blue and (b) toluidine blue
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The structure of rose bengal
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The structure of phthalocyanine
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The structure of (a) chlorin, (b) verteporfin, and (c) 2‐[1‐hexyloxyethyl]‐2‐devinyl pyropheophorbide‐a (HPPH)
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The structure of: (a) porphyrin, (b) protoporphyrin IX, (c) mesotetra (carboxyphenyl) porphyrin (TCPP), and (d) 5,10,15,20‐Tetrakis(3‐hydroxyphenyl) porphyrin (mTHPP)
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Possible pathways of cell death induced during photodynamic therapy.(Reprinted with permission from Carella, Feist, Bignell, and De Vico (). Copyright 2019 with permission of Elsevier)
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The scheme of photosensitizer activation
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The mechanism of photodynamic therapy
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Nanotechnology Approaches to Biology > Nanoscale Systems in Biology
Therapeutic Approaches and Drug Discovery > Nanomedicine for Oncologic Disease
Therapeutic Approaches and Drug Discovery > Emerging Technologies

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