Chemical molecule-induced light-activated system for anticancer and antifungal activities

J Am Chem Soc. 2012 Aug 15;134(32):13184-7. doi: 10.1021/ja304986t. Epub 2012 Aug 2.


Except for chemotherapy, surgery, and radiotherapy, photodynamic therapy (PDT) as new therapy modality is already in wide clinic use for the treatment of various diseases. The major bottleneck of this technique is the requirement of outer light source, which always limits effective application of PDT to the lesions in deeper tissue. Here, we first report a new modality for treating cancer and microbial infections, which is activated by chemical molecules instead of outer light irradiation. In this system, in situ bioluminescence of luminol can be absorbed by a cationic oligo(p-phenylene vinylene) (OPV) that acts as the photosensitizer through bioluminescence resonance energy transfer (BRET) process. The excited OPV sensitizes oxygen molecule in the surroundings to produce reactive oxygen species (ROS) that kill the adjacent cancer cells in vitro and in vivo, and pathogenic microbes. By avoiding the use of light irradiation, this work opens a new therapy modality to tumor and pathogen infections.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antifungal Agents*
  • Antineoplastic Agents*
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Fungi / drug effects*
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Light
  • Luminescent Measurements
  • Molecular Structure
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Photosensitizing Agents / pharmacology*
  • Polyvinyls / pharmacology*


  • Antifungal Agents
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Photosensitizing Agents
  • Polyvinyls
  • oligo(p-phenylene vinylene)