A NIR-I light-responsive superoxide radical generator with cancer cell membrane targeting ability for enhanced imaging-guided photodynamic therapy†
Photodynamic therapy (PDT), as an emerging treatment modality, which takes advantage of reactive oxygen species (ROS) generated upon light illumination to ablate tumours, has suffered from a limited treatment depth, strong oxygen dependence and short ROS lifespan. Herein, we developed a highly efficient NIR-I light (808 nm laser) initiated theranostic system based on a fluorescent photosensitizer (EBD-1) with cancer cell membrane targeting ability, which can realize large penetration depth in tissue, generate superoxide radicals (O2−˙) to relieve the oxygen-dependence, confine the ROS oxidation at the cell membrane, and self-report the cell viability during the PDT process. In vivo experiments demonstrated that EBD-1 under 808 nm light successfully accomplished remarkable cancer ablation. This work will be beneficial for the design of novel photosensitizers for PDT-based theranostic systems.