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Rationally Engineering Phototherapy Modules of Eosin-Conjugated Responsive Polymeric Nanocarriers via Intracellular Endocytic pH Gradients

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journal contribution
posted on 17.12.2015 by Guhuan Liu, Jinming Hu, Guoying Zhang, Shiyong Liu
Spatiotemporal switching of respective phototherapy modes at the cellular level with minimum side effects and high therapeutic efficacy is a major challenge for cancer phototherapy. Herein we demonstrate how to address this issue by employing photosensitizer-conjugated pH-responsive block copolymers in combination with intracellular endocytic pH gradients. At neutral pH corresponding to extracellular and cytosol milieu, the copolymers self-assemble into micelles with prominently quenched fluorescence emission and low 1O2 generation capability, favoring a highly efficient photothermal module. Under mildly acidic pH associated with endolysosomes, protonation-triggered micelle-to-unimer transition results in recovered emission and enhanced photodynamic 1O2 efficiency, which synergistically actuates release of encapsulated drugs, endosomal escape, and photochemical internalization processes.