Phthalocyanine-loaded graphene nanoplatform for imaging-guided combinatorial phototherapy

Olena Taratula, Mehulkumar Patel, Canan Schumann, Michael A. Naleway, Addison J. Pang, Huixin He, Oleh Taratula

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

45 Scopus citations


We report a novel cancer-targeted nanomedicine platform for imaging and prospect for future treatment of unresected ovarian cancer tumors by intraoperative multimodal phototherapy. To develop the required theranostic system, novel low-oxygen graphene nanosheets were chemically modified with polypropylenimine dendrimers loaded with phthalocyanine (Pc) as a photosensitizer. Such a molecular design prevents fluorescence quenching of the Pc by graphene nanosheets, providing the possibility of fluorescence imaging. Furthermore, the developed nanoplatform was conjugated with poly(ethylene glycol), to improve biocompatibility, and with luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) peptide, for tumor-targeted delivery. Notably, a low-power near-infrared (NIR) irradiation of single wavelength was used for both heat generation by the graphene nanosheets (photothermal therapy [PTT]) and for reactive oxygen species (ROS)-production by Pc (photodynamic therapy [PDT]). The combinatorial phototherapy resulted in an enhanced destruction of ovarian cancer cells, with a killing efficacy of 90%–95% at low Pc and low-oxygen graphene dosages, presumably conferring cytotoxicity to the synergistic effects of generated ROS and mild hyperthermia. An animal study confirmed that Pc loaded into the nanoplatform can be employed as a NIR fluorescence agent for imaging-guided drug delivery. Hence, the newly developed Pc-graphene nanoplatform has the significant potential as an effective NIR theranostic probe for imaging and combinatorial phototherapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2347-2362
Number of pages16
JournalInternational journal of nanomedicine
StatePublished - Mar 24 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biophysics
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Drug Discovery
  • Organic Chemistry


  • Graphene nanosheets
  • Photodynamic therapy
  • Photothermal therapy
  • Phthalocyanine
  • Theranostic

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