Pore forming channels as a drug delivery system for photodynamic therapy in cancer associated with nanoscintillators

Luiz Anastacio Alves _, Leonardo Braga Ferreira, Paulo Furtado Pacheco, Edith Alejandra Carreño Mendivelso, Pedro Celso Nogueira Teixeira and Robson Xavier Faria

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Oncotarget. 2018; 9:25342-25354. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.25150

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Luiz Anastacio Alves1,*, Leonardo Braga Ferreira2,*, Paulo Furtado Pacheco3, Edith Alejandra Carreño Mendivelso1, Pedro Celso Nogueira Teixeira1 and Robson Xavier Faria3

1Laboratório de Comunicação Celular, Instituto Oswaldo Cruz, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz-FIOCRUZ, 21045-900, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brasil

2Laboratório de Inflamação e Instituto Oswaldo Cruz, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz-FIOCRUZ, 21045-900, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brasil

3Laboratório de Toxoplasmose Instituto Oswaldo Cruz, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz-FIOCRUZ, 21045-900, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brasil

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Luiz Anastacio Alves, email: [email protected]

Keywords: drug delivery; cancer; PDT; nanoscintillators; pore forming channels

Received: August 16, 2017     Accepted: March 27, 2018     Published: May 18, 2018


According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cancer is one of main causes of death worldwide, with 8.2 million people dying from this disease in 2012. Because of this, new forms of treatments or improvement of current treatments are crucial. In this regard, Photodynamic therapy (PDT) has been used to successfully treat cancers that can be easily accessed externally or by fibre-optic endoscopes, such as skin, bladder and esophagus cancers. In addition, this therapy can used alongside radiotherapy and chemotherapy in order to kill cancer cells. The main problem in implementing PDT is penetration of visible light deeper than 10 mm in tissues, due to scattering and absorption by tissue chromophores. Unfortunately, this excludes several internal organs affected by cancer. Another issue in this regard is the use of a selective cancer cell-photosensitizing compound. Nevertheless, several groups have recently developed scintillation nanoparticles, which can be stimulated by X-rays, thereby making this a possible solution for light production in deeper tissues. Alternative approaches have also been developed, such as photosensitizer structure modifications and cell membrane permeabilizing agents. In this context, certain channels lead to transitory plasma membrane permeability changes, such as pannexin, connexin hemmichannels, TRPV1-4 and P2X7, which allow for the non-selective passage of molecules up to 1,000 Da. Herein, we discuss the particular case of the P2X7 receptor-associated pore as a drug delivery system for hydrophilic substances to be applied in PDT, which could also be carried out with other channels. Methylene blue (MB) is a low cost dye used as a prototype photosensitizer, approved for clinical use in several other clinical conditions, as well as photodynamic therapy for fungi infections.

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