NIR-Triggered "oFF/ON" Photodynamic Therapy through a Upper Critical Solution Temperature Block Copolymer

Dawei Jiang, Chao Chen, Yudong Xue, Hongliang Cao, Chaochao Wang, Guoliang Yang, Yun Gao, Ping Wang, Weian Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Activatable photodynamic therapy (A-PDT) has attracted great attention in precision medicine, which can be activated by endogenous or exogenous stimuli to selectively produce reactive oxygen species (ROS) at the disease site. Thermal responsive polymers with a lower critical solution temperature (LCST) have normally been utilized for constructing A-PDT system. Herein, we fabricated a photothermal activatable photosensitizer (A-PS) by the combination of thermal responsive porphyrin-containing P(AAm-co-AN-co-TPP)-b-POEGMA amphiphilic block copolymer with an upper critical solution temperature (UCST) of 42 °C and a cyanine dye of IR780. The photoactivity of porphyrin units could be severely inhibited by IR780 due to the fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) from TPP to IR780 during blood circulation process ("OFF" state). After an uptake by A549 cells and then irradiated with 808 nm laser, A-PS nanoparticles were subsequently dissociated owing to the increased local temperature above the UCST of the polymer chains by excellent photothermal conversion of IR780, resulting in the enhanced photoactivity of TPP ("ON" state) and the remarkable antitumor effect. Therefore, the UCST-based A-PS extended the biological application of thermal responsive polymers, which may provide a new insight into the design of smart cancer therapeutic systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)37121-37129
Number of pages9
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number40
StatePublished - Oct 9 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 21574039 and 21875063) and the Shanghai Natural Science Foundation (18ZR1408300).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 American Chemical Society.


  • block copolymer
  • fluorescence resonance energy transfer
  • IR780
  • photodynamic therapy
  • porphyrin
  • upper critical solution temperature


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