Assoc. Prof. Lin Zhou and Prof. Shaohua Wei published a research paper in SMALL (201809,14(38))
Reactive oxygen species (ROS) generated during photodynamic therapy (PDT) can trigger autophagy. However, little research is focused on whether there is a synergistic anticancer effect with PDT if extra autophagy promoter or inhibitor is added. Here, it is found that autophagy promotion significantly enhances the PDT activity to cancer cells. Based on this preliminary result, a ROS-sensitive self-assembled dendrimer nanoparticle is exploited as a carrier to codeliver an autophagy promoter (rapamycin, Rapa) and photosensitizer (phthalocyanine, Pc) to the tumor. After entrapped by cancer cells and irradiated by light, the ROS generated in PDT process of Pc can trigger nanoparticle destruction to release Rapa, thus initiating the autophagy process and remarkably enhancing the efficacy of PDT, leading to efficient tumor suppression.