CORDIS - EU research results

Phthalocyanine-biopolymeric nanoparticle delivery systems for cancer photodynamic therapy

Project description

Nanoparticles for the delivery of photodynamic therapy agents

Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a minimally invasive treatment that combines photosensitising drugs, oxygen and light to kill cancer cells. It is a selective approach with minimal side effects on normal tissues, offering a promising alternative to standard chemotherapy. Despite its approval for clinical use 20 years ago, PDT still finds limited use in most cancer types. The EU-funded BIOnanoPDT project proposes to incorporate phthalocyanine as the photosensitising drug into functionalised biodegradable polymeric nanoparticles to target tumour cells. This will help to address issues associated with the selectivity, aggregation and low water solubility of photosensitising drugs, enhancing the application of PDT in the clinic.


According to the World Health Organization cancer was responsible for approximated 9.6 million deaths in 2018 what is the reason of being one of the biggest civilizational health problem, just behind the heart diseases. The global objective of interdisciplinary BIOnanoPDT project is to develop novel biodegradable phthalocyanine (Pc)-polymeric nanoparticles (NPs) which enhance cancer photodynamic therapy (PDT).
Up to now, there is no ideal therapy for cancer treatment but among the others PDT presents several advantages, e.g. it is a selective treatment with less secondary effects than other therapies. This promising therapy combines three components: photosensitizer (PS), light and oxygen. 20 years ago PDT was approved by Food and Drug Admnistration as a clinical protocol for cancer treatment but it still have limitations to use it in all types of cancer. The development of new powerful PSs, which specifically target cancer cells, and can more deeply penetrate tissue allowing to treat large tumors is still a challenge.
Phthalocyanines (Pcs) are one of the most promising second generation PSs and meet many requirements for being ideal PSs. Unfortunately, very often Pcs are hydrophobic species and undergo self-aggregation in aqueous solutions, which drastically reduces their photosensitizing efficiency. In BIOnanoPDT project the limitations of Pcs will be overcame by tailoring their properties in terms of singlet oxygen generation and by incorporating them with polymer NPs which could improve their photophysical properties, selectivity for targeted tissues by surface modification, eliminate aggregation of the PSs and their low water solubility. Additionally, it can enhance the treatment by increasing the blood circulation and selective accumulation in tumor cells.
The BIOnanoPDT project will bring many innovations to the current cancer research by novel Pc-polymer NP hybrids for cancer PDT which will be an attractive alternative for conventional drugs.

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Net EU contribution
€ 149 625,60
41 819 Zabrze

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Makroregion południowy Śląskie Gliwicki
Activity type
Research Organisations
Total cost
€ 149 625,60