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Rational engineering of semiconductor QDs enabling remarkable 1O2 production for tumor-targeted photodynamic therapy

Shen, Yizhong, Sun, Yidan, Yan, Runqi, Chen, Erquan, Wang, Huan, Ye, Deju, Xu, Jing-Juan, Chen, Hong-Yuan
Biomaterials 2017
absorption, energy transfer, engineering, fluorescence, fluorescent dyes, folic acid, image analysis, in vivo studies, light intensity, mice, nanoparticles, neoplasms, phospholipids, photochemotherapy, photosensitizing agents, polymers, porphyrins, quantum dots, semiconductors, singlet oxygen
Semiconductor quantum dots (QDs) have served as superior optically active nanomaterials for molecular imaging and photodynamic therapy (PDT), but the low singlet oxygen (1O2) quantum yield and lack of tumor selectivity have limited their applications for tumor PDT in vivo. Here, we report the rational engineering of QDs into tumor-targeting hybrid nanoparticles through micelle-encapsulating a pre-assembled unique QD-Zn-porphyrin complex, a highly fluorescent organic photosensitizer rhodamine 6G (R6G), and a near-infrared fluorophore NIR775 with folic acid labeled phospholipid polymers. These nanoparticles have large porphyrin payloads and strong light absorption capability, thus contributing to an extremely high 1O2 quantum yield (∼0.91) via an efficient dual energy transfer process. In vivo studies show that they can preferably accumulate in tumors through folate receptor-mediated active delivery, permitting non-invasive fluorescence imaging and effective PDT of tumors in living mice. This study highlights the utility of hybrid semiconductor QDs for both tumor imaging and PDT in vivo.