Group-VI Element-Doped Carbon Nanoparticles for Phototherapeutic Applications

Project: Research

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As an emerging cancer therapy method, phototherapy (PT), including photodynamictherapy and photothermal therapy, have the advantages such as fewer side effects,negligible drug resistance, low systemic toxicity, and noninvasive nature.Phototherapeutic agents (PTAs) play a predominant role in determining the efficacy ofPT. Nevertheless, the current organic PTAs have in general complicated synthesisprocedures, poor photostability and water dispersibility, and low extinction coefficient atthe PT window. On the other hand, inorganic PTAs have usually high cytotoxicity, poorbiodegradability and stability which hamper their clinical applications.The carbon nanoparticles (CNPs) exhibit a unique combination of outstandingproperties, e.g., broad absorption from visible to near infrared (NIR), good waterdispersibility, high photostability, and excellent biocompatibility. Our recent report inNat. Commun. (2014, 5:4596) illustrates that doping of CNPs with sulphur can tune theoptical properties of CNPs, and lead to high-yield singlet oxygen generation and highlyefficient PT of cancer. Moreover, our preliminary results also show that the S- and Se-dopedCNPs have interesting photothermal effect. Although the heavy atom effect ofsulphur and selenium (e.g., enhancing intersystem crossing rate constant and tripletstates quantum yield) is believed to be a key in resulting in these prominentcharacteristics, the mechanism has not been fully understood. The relation betweenreactive oxide species (ROS) generation/photothermal conversion and doping effects ofCNPs need to be further explored for the design and preparation of new CNPs-basedPTAs.This project will focus on the synthesis and property studies of group-VI element-dopedCNPs. S-, Se-, and Te-containing polymers will be synthesized and used as precursorsto prepare CNPs by solvothermal methods. Doping of the different elements from thesame group may facilitate our understanding on how they affect the energy conversionefficiency from light to heat or ROS generation. The impacts of carbon sources, solvent,and the reaction conditions on the doping level, size, microstructure, and surface statesof CNPs will be studied systematically. The corresponding optical characteristics ofCNPs, such as absorption, emission, and photostability will be revealed; thephotophysical and photochemical properties of CNPs, including the capability in ROSgeneration and photothermal conversion will be investigated experimentally andtheoretically. The nanotoxicology, biodistribution, and phototherapy performance ofCNPs will be evaluated through in vitro and in vivo experiments. and the results willprovide a guideline for the preparation of new carbon-based PTAs for cancer treatment.


Project number9042409
Grant typeGRF
Effective start/end date1/01/1714/12/20

    Research areas

  • Carbon nanostructures , Doping , Phototherapy , ,