X-ray Activated Nanoplatforms for Deep Tissue Photodynamic Therapy

Jeffrey S. Souris*, Lara Leoni, Hannah J. Zhang, Ariel Pan, Eve Tanios, Hsiu Ming Tsai, Irina V. Balyasnikova, Marc Bissonnette, Chin Tu Chen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Photodynamic therapy (PDT), the use of light to excite photosensitive molecules whose electronic relaxation drives the production of highly cytotoxic reactive oxygen species (ROS), has proven an effective means of oncotherapy. However, its application has been severely constrained to superficial tissues and those readily accessed either endoscopically or laparoscopically, due to the intrinsic scattering and absorption of photons by intervening tissues. Recent advances in the design of nanoparticle-based X-ray scintillators and photosensitizers have enabled hybridization of these moieties into single nanocomposite particles. These nanoplatforms, when irradiated with diagnostic doses and energies of X-rays, produce large quantities of ROS and permit, for the first time, non-invasive deep tissue PDT of tumors with few of the therapeutic limitations or side effects of conventional PDT. In this review we examine the underlying principles and evolution of PDT: from its initial and still dominant use of light-activated, small molecule photosensitizers that passively accumulate in tumors, to its latest development of X-ray-activated, scintillator–photosensitizer hybrid nanoplatforms that actively target cancer biomarkers. Challenges and potential remedies for the clinical translation of these hybrid nanoplatforms and X-ray PDT are also presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number673
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 2023


  • X-ray activated
  • deep tissue
  • dosimetry
  • luminescence
  • nanoparticle
  • photodynamic therapy
  • photosensitizer
  • radiation therapy
  • reactive oxygen species
  • scintillator

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Materials Science


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