Recent advances of AIE light-up probes for photodynamic therapy
As a new non-invasive treatment method, photodynamic therapy (PDT) has attracted great attention in biomedical applications. The advantages of possessing fluorescence for photosensitizers have made it possible to combine imaging and diagnosis together with PDT. The unique features of aggregation-induced emission (AIE) fluorogens provide new opportunities for facile design of light-up probes with high signal-to-noise ratios and improved theranostic accuracy and efficacy for image-guided PDT. In this review, we summarize the recent advances of AIE light-up probes for PDT. The strategies and principles to design AIE photosensitizers and light-up probes are firstly introduced. The application of AIE light-up probes in photodynamic antitumor and antibacterial applications is further elaborated in detail, from binding/targeting-mediated, reaction-mediated, and external stimuli-mediated light-up aspects. The challenges and future perspectives of AIE light-up probes in the PDT field are also presented with the hope to encourage more promising developments of AIE materials for phototheranostic applications and translational research.