Combining Nanoparticles With Infrared Light Allows For Deeper Tumor Destruction Interview with:

Dr. Gang Han What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Gang Han: One way to target and destroy tumors is photodynamic therapy, where a red laser is shone on cancer cells to activate a drug that kills them. However, because red light cannot penetrate through tissue very deeply, photodynamic therapy is limited to surface tumors.

In this study, a deep-penetrating near infrared laser was used to activate the FDA-approved photodynamic therapy drug aminolevulinic acid. This was accomplished by delivering the drug attached to upconverting nanoparticles to the tumor cells; upconverting nanoparticles efficiently absorbed the near-infrared light from the laser and converted it to red light to activate the drug. The final result was diminishing the size of tumors on mice underneath 1.2 centimeters of superficial tissue by more than 60% using low-power near-infrared light. What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Gang Han: In the future, there may be an alternative to toxic chemotherapy and radiation treatments for cancer treatment. Using bright upconverting nanoparticles and safe near-infrared light, photodynamic therapy may be extended to treating all kinds of tumors deep below the surface of the skin. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Gang Han: Research should be conducted to make smaller and more biocompatible upconverting nanoparticles and to make more efficient photodynamic therapy drugs. Thank you for your contribution to the community.


Amplifying the Red-Emission of Upconverting Nanoparticles for Biocompatible Clinically Used Prodrug-Induced Photodynamic Therapy

Amol Punjabi, Xiang Wu, Amira Tokatli-Apollon, Mahmoud El-Rifai, Hyungseok Lee, Yuanwei Zhang, Chao Wang, Zhuang Liu, Emory M. Chan§, Chunying Duan, and Gang Han* 

ACS Nano, 2014, 8 (10), pp 10621–10630

DOI: 10.1021/nn505051d

Publication Date (Web): September 25, 2014 

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Dr. Gang Han (2016). Combining Nanoparticles With Infrared Light Allows For Deeper Tumor Destruction