ACS Nano. 2020 Oct 22. doi: 10.1021/acsnano.0c05425. Online ahead of print.
Nanoparticles offer great opportunities for precision medicine. However, the use of nanoparticles as smart photosensitizers that target tumor biomarkers and are responsive to the tumor microenvironment has yet to be explored. Herein, prostate cancer (PCa)-selective theranostic gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) for precise cancer imaging and therapy are developed. Silicon phthalocyanine, Pc158, was synthesized and deactivated by conjugating it to AuNPs via a biocleavable linker. In vitro and in vivo, the targeted AuNPs show excellent selectivity for PSMA-positive tumor cells. Triggered release of the therapeutic, Pc158, followed by sequential photodynamic therapy (PDT) results in significant inhibition of tumor growth. Further, we demonstrate that multiple sequential PDT greatly enhances nanoparticle uptake and therapeutic efficacy. PSMA is highly expressed in the neovasculature of most other solid tumors in humans, as well as PCa, making this approach of great practical interest for precision PDT in a wide range of cancers.