Nanotheranostics 2019; 3(2):156-165. doi:10.7150/ntno.33536

Research Paper

Near-Infrared Organic Fluorescent Nanoparticles for Long-term Monitoring and Photodynamic Therapy of Cancer

Qi Xia1,2, Zikang Chen1,2, Yuping Zhou1,2, Ruiyuan Liu1✉

1. Biomaterials Research Center, School of Biomedical Engineering, Southern Medical University, Guangzhou 510515, P.R. China
2. School of pharmaceutical Sciences, Southern Medical University, Guangzhou 510515, P.R. China

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Xia Q, Chen Z, Zhou Y, Liu R. Near-Infrared Organic Fluorescent Nanoparticles for Long-term Monitoring and Photodynamic Therapy of Cancer. Nanotheranostics 2019; 3(2):156-165. doi:10.7150/ntno.33536. Available from

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Photodynamic therapy (PDT), which utilizes reactive oxygen species to ablate tumor, has attracted much attention in recent years. Photosensitizers with near-infrared (NIR) fluorescence as well as efficient ROS generation ability have been used for precise diagnosis and simultaneous treatment of cancer. However, photosensitizers frequently suffer from low ROS generation ability and NIR fluorescence quenching in aqueous media due to the aggregation.

Methods: We prepare an effective AIE active NIR emissive photosensitizer containing rhodanine as electron acceptor and triphenylvinylthiophene as electron donor is prepared, and encapsulate the corresponding photosensitizer into Pluronic F127 to fabricate NIR organic fluorescent nanoparticles. We then evaluate the NIR fluorescence bioimaging and photodynamic therapy ability of TPVTR dots in vitro and in vivo.

Results: The yielded organic fluorescent nanoparticles exhibit effective ROS generation ability, bright NIR emission, high photostability, and good biocompatibility. Both in vitro and in vivo experiments confirm that NIR organic fluorescent nanoparticles demonstrate good performances in long-term tracing and photodynamic ablation of tumor.

Conclusion: In summary, the synthesized organic fluorescent nanoparticles, TPVTR dots, showed great potentials in long-term cell tracing and photodynamic therapy of tumor. Our study highlights the efficient strategy for developing promising near-infrared organic fluorescent nanoparticles in advancing the field of bioimaging and further image-guide clinical applications.

Keywords: AIE, near-infrared, organic fluorescent nanoparticles, long-term monitoring, photodynamic therapy