Phototherapy technology can completely eliminate cancer cells by increasing efficiency while reducing the pain of chemotherapy and minimizing side effects after treatment as per a research at the Theragnosis Research Center (KU-KIST Graduate School of Converging Science and Technology).
The phototherapy technology involves only one injection and repeated phototherapy. It is a cancer treatment technique where light is used and a photosensitizer is injected, that selectively destroys cancer cells in response to a laser, which accumulates in only cancerous tissues.
Phototherapy technology in cancer
However recently developed photosensitizers with phototherapeutic effects use the internalizing RGD peptide (iRGD) that can selectively penetrate and get activated only in cancer tissues.
This newly developed photosensitizer upon being injected into a living body, is activated by the body temperature and aggregates into a supramolecular array designed by the research team, to be stored around cancer cells. This destroys only cancer cells without harming normal cells.
The efficacy of the phototherapeutic agent was demonstrated in a mouse model implanted with a tumor. The photosensitizer was stored around the tumor and was continuously released for a long time (2 to 4 weeks), demonstrating the ability of selectively targeting the tumor with just one injection around the cancerous tissues.
It also showed no toxicity for the tissues and major organs around the cancer, even with repeated exposure to light after which, there was complete removal of cancerous tissues.
"We developed a cancer-targeting peptide phototherapeutic agent that forms a reservoir through supramolecular self-assembly without additional adjuvants when injected in vivo. The developed phototherapeutic agent is expected to be useful in future phototherapy as it allows long-term repeated phototherapy without toxicity after only one injection around the cancer until the complete removal of the cancer, and has a simple formulation with a single component," says KIST Center Director Se-hoon Kim.