Excipient-free porphyrin/SN-38 based nanotheranostics for drug delivery and cell imaging

  • Ye Yuan
  • Ruonan Bo
  • Di Jing
  • Zhao Ma
  • Zhongling Wang
  • Tzu-yin Lin
  • Lijie Dong
  • Xiangdong XueEmail author
  • Yuanpei LiEmail author
Research Article


Nanotheranostics with comprehensive diagnostic and therapeutic capabilities show exciting cancer treatment potentials. Here, we develop an excipient-free drug delivery system for cancer diagnosis as well as therapy, in which a near infra-red photosensitizer and a chemotherapeutic drug can be self-delivered without any carriers. The building block of the drug delivery system was synthesized by covalently conjugating four anticancer drugs (7-ethyl-10-hydroxy-camptothecin, SN-38) with a photosensitizer (porphyrin) via hydrolyzable ester linkage, which endows the drug delivery system with 100% active pharmaceutical ingredients, excellent imaging, and therapeutic functionalities. The conjugates can readily self-assemble into nanosheets (PS NSs) and remain stable for at least 20 days in aqueous solution. In PS NSs, fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) dominates the fluorescence of SN-38 and enables to monitor the drug release fluorescently. The PS NSs also show excellent anticancer activity in vitro, due to the increased cell uptake with the synergistic effect of photodynamic therapy and chemotherapy.


porphyrin 7-ethyl-10-hydroxy-camptothecin (SN-38) drug delivery self-indication nanotheranostics photodynamic therapy 


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The authors gratefully acknowledge the support from Dr. Li’s faculty startup funds at UC Davis and Dr. Xue’s National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) (No. 81803002).

Supplementary material

12274_2020_2641_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (2.6 mb)
Excipient-free porphyrin/SN-38 based nanotheranostics for drug delivery and cell imaging


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Copyright information

© Tsinghua University Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ye Yuan
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ruonan Bo
    • 2
    • 3
  • Di Jing
    • 2
    • 4
  • Zhao Ma
    • 2
  • Zhongling Wang
    • 2
    • 5
  • Tzu-yin Lin
    • 6
  • Lijie Dong
    • 1
  • Xiangdong Xue
    • 2
    • 7
    Email author
  • Yuanpei Li
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Center for Smart Materials and Devices, State Key Laboratory of Advanced Technology for Materials Synthesis and ProcessingWuhan University of TechnologyWuhanChina
  2. 2.Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine, UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer CenterUniversity of California DavisSacramentoUSA
  3. 3.School of Veterinary MedicineYangzhou UniversityYangzhouChina
  4. 4.Department of Oncology, Xiangya HospitalCentral South UniversityChangshaChina
  5. 5.Department of Radiology, Shanghai General HospitalShanghai Jiao Tong University School of MedicineShanghaiChina
  6. 6.Division of Hematology/Oncology, Department of Internal MedicineUniversity of California DavisSacramentoUSA
  7. 7.College of Life SciencesNorthwest UniversityXi’anChina

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