Mesoporous semiconductors combined with up-conversion nanoparticles for enhanced photodynamic therapy under near infrared light†
Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a promising and effective method for tumor therapy that relies on the reactive oxygen species (ROS) produced by photosensitizers at specific wavelengths to inhibit tumor cells. Inorganic semiconductive materials are potential photosensitizers that can excellently absorb ultraviolet light to produce ROS to kill cancer cells. However, this strategy is still limited in terms of practical applications due to the weak penetration of ultraviolet light through biological tissue, as well as the hypoxic tumor microenvironment, largely decreasing ROS generation. In this research, novel PDT agents made with mesoporous lanthanide-semiconductor composites are developed to obtain a remarkable amount of generated ROS under near-infrared (NIR) laser irradiation. Due to the larger size (about 120 nm) of the up-conversion material (UCM) used as the substrate, coated with different amounts of semiconductors with mesoporous morphologies, this platform could emit higher blue emission under a 980 nm laser. Meanwhile, both of the semiconductors (SnO2 and TiO2) used have wide absorbance bands in the ultraviolet region, and the ultraviolet fluorescence emitted from the UCM core under NIR laser excitation can be used as the energy donor. Electron transfer processes in SnO2 and TiO2 are generated via the above platforms and produce ROS through photochemical action. Furthermore, the coated semiconductors are mesoporous with larger surface areas (about 302 m2 g−1) and various channels; this is beneficial to obtain enough oxygen to generate more ROS under a hypoxic environment. The PDT efficiency of a typical NaYF4@SnO2 sample is studied using a DPBF detector, in vitro MTT assays, and in vivo tumor inhibition experiments, revealing that this lanthanide-semiconductor platform could be potentially used as a PDT agent under NIR excitation.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Editors’ collection: Photodynamic therapy