Tunable Luminescent Organic Salts for Enhanced Imaging and Photodynamic Therapy


Executive Summary:


Theranostic nanomedicine, the medical application of nanobiotechnology, is an emerging area of cancer research. These nanosystems are capable of diagnosing, curing, or preventing diseases. One example of theranostic nanomedicine is photodynamic therapy which uses photosensitizing agents with light to kill cancer cells. However, a major problem with this therapy is the toxic reactive oxygen species generated. Most photosensitizing agents developed are focused on chemical modification of fluorescent probes which produce high energy levels, leading to off-target phototoxicity. MSU researchers have addressed this drawback by generating tunable fluorescent probes which couple fluorescent cations with various non-fluorescent anions. Depending on the anion coupled, these tunable fluorescent probes can enable brighter medical imaging, enhance image-guided surgery, improve fluorescent labeling for biomedical research, and provide selective photodynamic therapy without side effects.


Description of Technology:


This MSU technology is a method of using various organic salts for enhanced imaging and photodynamic therapy. Paired anions have optoelectronic control which allows them to be tuned for phototoxicity or non-toxic imaging. As a result, these new tunable fluorescent probes will be superior to the current fluorescent dyes because they will not generate unwarranted toxicity.


Key Benefits:

  • Improved imaging of cancer cells
    • Enhancing brightness of images
    • Decreased background absorption/emission
    • Non-toxic



  • Non-toxic tumor detection
  • Image-guided surgery
  • Visualization of lymph node cancer cells
  • Can be tuned to be phototoxic for enhanced photodynamic therapy


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Full licensing rights available




Richard R. Lunt, Sophia Y. Lunt, Deanna Broadwater, Margaret Young, Matthew Bates


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