Slow and steady wins the race: Fractionated near-infrared treatment empowered by graphene-enhanced 3D scaffolds for precision oncology

Mater Today Bio. 2024 Feb 9:25:100986. doi: 10.1016/j.mtbio.2024.100986. eCollection 2024 Apr.


Surgically addressing tumors poses a challenge, requiring a tailored, multidisciplinary approach for each patient based on the unique aspects of their case. Innovative therapeutic regimens combined to reliable reconstructive methods can contribute to an extended patient's life expectancy. This study presents a detailed comparative investigation of near-infrared therapy protocols, examining the impact of non-fractionated and fractionated irradiation regimens on cancer treatment. The therapy is based on the implantation of graphene oxide/poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) three-dimensional printed scaffolds, exploring their versatile applications in oncology by the examination of pro-inflammatory cytokine secretion, immune response, and in vitro and in vivo tumor therapy. The investigation into cell death patterns (apoptosis vs necrosis) underlines the pivotal role of protocol selection underscores the critical influence of treatment duration on cell fate, establishing a crucial parameter in therapeutic decision-making. In vivo experiments corroborated the profound impact of protocol selection on tumor response. The fractionated regimen emerged as the standout performer, achieving a substantial reduction in tumor size over time, surpassing the efficacy of the non-fractionated approach. Additionally, the fractionated regimen exhibited efficacy also in targeting tumors in proximity but not in direct contact to the scaffolds. Our results address a critical gap in current research, highlighting the absence of a standardized protocol for optimizing the outcome of photodynamic therapy. The findings underscore the importance of personalized treatment strategies in achieving optimal therapeutic efficacy for precision cancer therapy.

Keywords: 3D printed scaffolds; Cancer therapy; Graphene oxide; Near-infrared radiation; Photodynamic therapy.