Light chemotherapy required only one injection

Chemotherapy with only one injection, repeated light therapy, and no side effects. Development of a single component phototherapy agent for supramolecular peptide targeting cancer

Researchers in South Korea have developed a phototherapy technique that can greatly increase efficiency while reducing chemotherapy pain and reducing side effects after treatment. President of the Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST), Seok-Jin Yoon announced that a research team led by Dr. Se-hoon Kim at the Therapy Research Center (KU-KIST Graduate School of Converging Science and Technology) has developed a cancer-directed phototherapy agent that promises to completely eliminate On cancer cells without side effects. It includes only one injection and repeated phototherapy. This development was carried out through joint research with Professor Dong Jun Ahn from Korea University and Professor Yoon Sik Lee from Seoul National University.

Phototherapy, a cancer treatment method that uses light, injects a photosensitizer that destroys cancer cells in response to a laser that only builds up in cancerous tissues. Moreover, it releases light to selectively destroy cancer cells. It has far fewer side effects than radiotherapy or general chemotherapy (which inevitably damages the tissues surrounding the cancer cells), which allows for repeat treatment.

While the effect of the traditional photosensitizer only lasted for one session, the photosensitizer had to be administered every time the treatment was repeated. Moreover, the residual photosensitizer after treatment builds up in the skin or eyes causing side effects due to the light; Therefore, it is recommended that the patient be isolated from sunlight and indoor lighting for some time after the treatment. In general, the patients receiving the treatment had the pain of injections and the inconvenience of living in isolation every time. Recently, photosensitizers have been developed with phototherapy effects that are only activated in cancerous tissues; However, it is still toxic and must be injected for every repeated treatment.

Dr. Se-hoon Kim and his team at KIST have used peptides that selectively target cancerous tissue and assemble themselves in a specific order to solve problems associated with light therapy technology. The research team developed a peptide-based photo enhancer that activates phototherapeutic effects in cancerous tissues only using endogenous RGD peptide (iRGD) that can penetrate into cancer tissue and selectively target it as a skeleton, and by properly designing a maturing agent to modify it. Reaction to light.

When this newly developed photosensitizer is injected into a living body, it is activated by body temperature and assembles into a super-molecular set designed by the research team, to be stored around cancer cells. Post-light therapy can only destroy cancer cells without affecting normal cells.

The phototherapy agent developed by the researchers was injected into a mouse model implanted with a tumor, and the photosensitizer was stored around the tumor and released continuously for an extended period (2 to 4 weeks), demonstrating the ability to selectively target the tumor with only one injection around the tumor tissue. . Moreover, no toxicity has been found that damages major tissues and organs around the cancer, even with repeated exposure to light. Cancer tissue is completely removed through repeated procedures.

“We have developed a peptide-targeted phototherapy agent that forms a reservoir through supramolecular self-assembly without additional adjuvants when injected in vivo,” said Se-hoon Kim, Director of KIST. “The improved phototherapy agent is expected to be useful in Future phototherapy because it allows long-term, repeated light therapy without toxicity after only one injection around the cancer until complete elimination of the cancer, and it has a simple formula with one component. ” Added.


This study was conducted with a grant from the Ministry of Science, Information and Communication Technology (MSIT), as part of KIST’s institutional research and development program. The results of this study were published in the latest issue ofACS Nano(IF: 14.588, Top 5.25% in JCR), an international journal in the field of nanotechnology.

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