About this Research Topic
Phototherapy, either in the form of photodynamic therapy (PDT) or photothermal therapy (PTT), has attracted considerable attention as it does not share the drawbacks of conventional cancer treatments such as severe side effects, immune system suppression, and drug resistance. PDT utilizes singlet oxygen as the primary cytotoxic agent to attack cancer cells, while PTT triggers local temperature increase as a result of efficient light-to-heat conversion. On the other side, fluorescence imaging is a highly promising alternative to clinically established diagnostic tools due to the spatial and temporal resolution, high sensitivity and selectivity, ease of operation, and low cost. Additionally, a non-invasive nature and real-time measurement capabilities without harming the cells and tissues are among the significant advantages of fluorescence imaging. Current trends in the literature involve combining multimodal therapeutic action (PDT + PTT) and fluorescent imaging in a single system to generate phototheranostic agents.
There is a growing interest in developing new phototherapy/phototheranostic and imaging agents. However, two major problems of these agents, namely limited penetration of light through tissues and lack of cancer cell selectivity still present a challenge. In this regard, near-IR absorbing/emitting and cancer cell selective agents are in high demand, to maximize the deep tissue penetration and minimize the problems associated with off-target sensitization. In order to satisfy these requirements, a great deal of effort has to be put into agent design. Small organic-based photosensitizers and fluorescent probes are quite attractive compared to their inorganic nanoscale competitors, as they offer better biocompatibility, ease of functionalization, and large-scale synthesis, as well as opportunities to target specific subcellular compartments. More importantly, they can be precisely engineered according to specific end use, which ranges from single therapeutic/imaging applications to multimodal phototheranostic studies.
The aim of the current Research Topic is to cover recent advances in small molecule-based cancer cell selective phototherapy and theranostic agents. Both Original Research articles and Reviews are welcomed. Potential subjects to be covered in this Research Topic may include, but are not limited to:
• Design and synthesis of small molecule-based phototherapy (PDT, PTT or dual PDT +PTT) agents
• Development of cancer cell selective small molecule-based phototheranostic agents
• Small molecule-based fluorescent imaging probes for use in cancer cell imaging
• Investigation of natural products as cancer cell selective phototherapy and/or theranostic probes
• Computational studies on phototherapy and fluorescent imaging agents
Keywords: phototherapy, fluorescent imaging, theranostics, cancer, organic chemistry
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