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Radiation therapy is often limited by damage to healthy tissue and associated side-effects; restricting radiation to ineffective doses. Preferential incorporation of materials into tumour tissue can enhance the effect of radiation. Titania has precedent for use in photodynamic therapy (PDT), generating reactive oxygen species (ROS) upon photoexcitation, but is limited by the penetration depth of UV light. Optimization of a nanomaterial for interaction with X-rays could be used for deep tumour treatment. As such, titania nanoparticles were doped with gadolinium to optimize the localized energy absorption from a conventional medical X-ray, and further optimized by the addition of other rare earth (RE) elements. These elements were selected due to their large X-ray photon interaction cross-section, and potential for integration into the titania crystal structure. Specific activation of the nanoparticles by X-ray can result in generation of ROS leading to cell death in a tumour-localized manner. We show here that intratumoural injection of RE doped titania nanoparticles can enhance the efficacy of radiotherapy in vivo.
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