PROMPT will develop a new generation of photosensitizers targeting mitochondria in cancer cells, to be used in photodynamic therapy (PDT). The innovative approach of PROMPT is based on the design and synthesis of porphyrinoids functionalized with aromatic heterocyclic groups containing C-S bonds. These molecules are expected to localize specifically in mitochondria of cancer cells and to efficiently generate singlet oxygen, leading to apoptosis induction and cell death. Loading of the photosensitizers into liposomes ad hoc functionalized to target mitochondria is also envisaged in case of need. The innovative photodynamic treatment will thus show high selectivity, lower dose of treatment and reduced side effects with respect to the presently used phototherapy approaches. Moreover, the new molecules are expected to show significant two-photon absorption properties, due to the extended conjugation of the porphyrinoid core introduced by the aromatic side groups. They will thus represent a groundbreaking class of mitochondria-targeted photosensitizers for both one- and two-photon PDT. The multidisciplinarity of PROMPT, together with the proposed work plan in a forefront area of bio-medical research, will widen the scientific skills and technological know-how of the Experienced Researcher, significantly improving his career opportunities both in the academic and private sectors.
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