The technology exploits a three-component system: metal nanoparticles, novel phthalocyanine photosensitisers and phase transfer reagent. The combination produces enhanced levels of cytotoxic singlet oxygen, resulting in increased cell kill following activation by red light. The wavelength of red light provides maximal tissue penetration and minimal risk to healthy tissues.
Combining phthalocyanines with gold nanoparticles improves solubility, thereby avoiding the requirement for liposomal formulation. The nanoparticle conjugate may also provide a systemic delivery vehicle for other photosensitisers limited by solubility. Importantly, phthalocyanine solubility has been improved without the inherent problems associated with the generation of isomers. In addition, the phthalocyanines are characterised by low absorption in both the UV and the visible wavelength range outside the “red” (>600 nm) interval, potentially reducing skin photosensitivity, one of the major hurdles of treatment with PDT.
Lead investigator, Prof. David Russell at the School of Chemical Sciences and Pharmacy, University of East Anglia will receive funding from Cancer Research UK and will work closely with Prof. Giulio Jori, a leading expert in PDT at the Department of Biology, University of Padua. CRT has exclusive rights to commercialise the strong patent portfolio and therapeutic opportunities arising from the programme. Revenues will be shared with the University of East Anglia and the University of Padua.