Conjugated porphyrin dimers are promising chromophores for photodynamic therapy (PDT) because of their strong two-photon absorption at wavelengths around 850 nm, as well as their strong one-photon absorption between 650-750 nm. PDT via two-photon absorption, using a pulsed Ti-sapphire laser, should be an effective method for treating age-related macular degeneration (AMD) which is a common cause for blindness.
The advantage of two-photon excitation is that it minimises collateral damage. These chromophores may also lead to promising one-photon PDT sensitisers because they absorb at wavelengths where there is minimal absorption or scattering by living tissues. We already know that conjugated porphyrin dimers possess the necessary photophysical characteristics for PDT as they have high singlet oxygen yields (singlet oxygen is the primary cytotoxic species formed during PDT).
The challenge now is to synthesize biocompatible porphyrin dimers and learn how to deliver them into living cells and how to control their sub-cellular localization. The project will address these issues by exploring a range of molecular architectures and drug delivery techniques. Dr. Balaz is a very talented young researcher in the field of organic synthesis, physical organic chemistry, and spectroscopy.
The proposed project presents a well balanced combination of fundamental and applied research on the intersection of organic synthesis, photophysics and biological chemistry. Completion of this interdisciplinary project would allow him to share his expertise with his colleagues from Slovakia, where he could introduce new research frontiers.
The project addresses one of the major thematic priorities of the European Union's Sixth FrameWork Programme: Life sciences, Genomics and Biotechnology for Health. It explores the highly important area of preparation of new, more effective drugs and offers new approaches which are more elegant and less invasive in combating diseases.
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