Emerging Role of Aminolevulinic Acid and Gold Nanoparticles Combination in Theranostic Applications

  • Lilia Coronato Courrol
  • Karina de Oliveira Gonçalves
  • Daniel Perez Vieira


Major advancements in theranostic agents for cancer and inflammatory processes, such as atherosclerosis, have been reported in recent years. The theranostic agents can be used for both diagnosis and treatment. In this chapter, we show that cancer and atheroma plaques exhibit accumulation of protoporphyrin IX (PpIX), which is transferred to the blood and feces. PpIX may therefore be a biomarker for atherosclerosis and cancer, enabling minimally invasive and inexpensive diagnosis. PpIX is the immediate precursor in the heme biosynthesis. Tumor cells tend to retain more PpIX owing to cellular energy metabolism. Analysis of these spectroscopic properties of PpIX enables monitoring of its concentrations in tissues and biological fluids. Additionally, increases in PpIX fluorescence are proportional to tumor progression; thus, this tool can be used to detect and stage tumors. Exogenous administration of aminolevulinic acid (ALA) enhances endogenous PpIX production and allows its use in photodynamic diagnosis and as a photosensitizer/sonosensitizer for photodynamic/sonodynamic therapies. However, ALA cannot easily penetrate target cells. Accordingly, we propose the use of gold nanoparticles produced with ALA or its methyl ester to solve this problem.


Fluorescence Porphyrin Gold nanoparticle Atherosclerosis Prostate cancer 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lilia Coronato Courrol
    • 1
  • Karina de Oliveira Gonçalves
    • 1
  • Daniel Perez Vieira
    • 2
  1. 1.Laboratory of Applied Biomedical Optics, Physics DepartmentFederal University of São PauloDiademaBrazil
  2. 2.Radiobiology LaboratoryNuclear and Research Institute, IPEN/CNEN-SPSão PauloBrazil

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