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Specific Targeting, Imaging, and Ablation of Tumor-Associated Macrophages by Theranostic Mannose–AIEgen Conjugates

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posted on 22.04.2019, 00:00 by Xiaoying Gao, Duo Mao, Xingang Zuo, Fang Hu, Jie Cao, Peng Zhang, Jing Zhi Sun, Jianzhao Liu, Bin Liu, Ben Zhong Tang
Tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) that exist in tumor microenvironment promote tumor progression and have been suggested as a promising therapeutic target for cancer therapy in preclinical studies. Development of theranostic systems capable of specific targeting, imaging, and ablation of TAMs will offer clinical benefits. Here we constructed a theranostic probe, namely, TPE-Man, by attaching mannose moieties to a red-emissive and AIE (aggregation-induced emission)-active photosensitizer. TPE-Man can specifically recognize a mannose receptor that is overexpressed on TAMs by the sugar–receptor interaction and enables fluorescent visualization of the mannose-receptor-positive TAMs in high contrast. The histologic study of mouse tumor sections further verifies TPE-Man’s excellent targeting specificity being comparable with the commercial mannose-receptor antibody. TAMs can be effectively eradicated upon exposure to white light irradiation via a photodynamic therapy effect. To our knowledge, this is the first small molecular theranostic probe for TAMs that revealed combined advantages of low cost, high targeting specificity, fluorescent light-up imaging, and efficient photodynamic ablation.

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