DOI: 10.1002/advs.202306207 ISSN: 2198-3844

A Bioorthogonal Antidote Against the Photosensitivity after Photodynamic Therapy

Evelyn Y. Xue, Caixia Yang, Yimin Zhou, Dennis K. P. Ng
  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • General Engineering
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (miscellaneous)
  • General Materials Science
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


As an effective and non‐invasive treatment modality for cancer, photodynamic therapy (PDT) has attracted considerable interest. With the recent advances in the photosensitizing agents, the fiber‐optic systems, and other aspects, its application is extended to a wide range of superficial and localized cancers. However, for the few clinically used photosensitizers, most of them suffer from the drawback of causing prolonged photosensitivity after the treatment. As a result, post‐PDT management is also a crucial issue. Herein, a facile bioorthogonal approach is reported that can effectively suppress this common side effect of PDT in nude mice. It involves the use of an antidote that contains a black‐hole quencher BHQ‐3 conjugated with a bicyclo[6.1.0]non‐4‐yne (BCN) moiety and a tetrazine‐substituted boron dipyrromethene‐based photosensitizer. By using tumor‐bearing nude mice as an animal model, it is demonstrated that after PDT with this photosensitizer, the administration of the antidote can effectively quench the photodynamic activity of the residual photosensitizer by bringing the BHQ‐3 quencher close to the photosensitizing unit through a rapid click reaction. It results in substantial reduction in skin damage upon light irradiation. The overall results demonstrate that this simple and facile strategy can provide an effective means for minimizing the photosensitivity after PDT.

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