Why develop photoactivated chemotherapy?
Photoactivated chemotherapy is an approach where a biologically active compound is protected against interaction with the cell environment by a light-cleavable protecting group, and unprotected by light irradiation. As such, PACT represents a major scientific opportunity for developing new bioactive inorganic compounds. However, the societal impact of this approach will only take off if the PACT field is used to address real societal challenges, i.e., therapeutic questions that make sense in a clinical context, rather than purely chemical questions. In particular, I advocate here that the field has become mature enough to switch from a compound-based approach, where a particular cancer model is chosen only to demonstrate the utility of a compound, to a disease-based approach, where the question of which disease to cure comes first: which PACT compound should I make to solve that particular clinical problem? The advantages and disadvantages of PACT vs. other phototherapeutic techniques are discussed, and a roadmap towards real clinical applications of PACT is drawn.