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Photoacoustic Nanodroplets for Oxygen Enhanced Photodynamic Therapy of Cancer

By December 16, 2021December 19th, 2021No Comments

Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a well-known cancer therapy that utilizes light to excite a photosensitizer and generate cytotoxic reactive oxygen species (ROS). The efficacy of PDT primarily depends on the photosensitizer and oxygen concentration in the tumor. Hypoxia in solid tumors promotes treatment resistance, resulting in poor PDT outcomes. Hence, there is a need to combat hypoxia while delivering sufficient photosensitizer to the tumor for ROS generation. Here we showcase our unique theranostic perfluorocarbon nanodroplets as a triple agent carrier for oxygen, photosensitizer, and indocyanine green that enables light triggered spatiotemporal delivery of oxygen to the tumors. We evaluated the characteristics of the nanodroplets and validated their ability to deliver oxygen via photoacoustic monitoring of blood oxygen saturation and subsequent PDT efficacy in a murine subcutaneous tumor model. The imaging results were validated with an oxygen sensing probe, which showed a 9.1 fold increase in oxygen content inside the tumor, following systemic administration of the nanodroplets. These results were also confirmed with immunofluorescence. In vivo studies showed that nanodroplets held higher rates of treatment efficacy than a clinically available benzoporphyrin derivative formulation. Histological analysis showed higher necrotic area within the tumor with perfluoropentane nanodroplets. Overall, the photoacoustic nanodroplets can significantly enhance image-guided PDT and has demonstrated substantial potential as a valid theranostic option for patient-specific photodynamic therapy-based treatments.