X-ray induced photodynamic therapy with copper-cysteamine nanoparticles in mice tumors

Samana Shrestha, Jing Wu, Bindeshwar Sah, Adam Vanasse, Leon N. Cooper*, Lun Ma, Gen Li, Huibin Zheng, Wei Chen, Michael P. Antosh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

113 Citations (Scopus)


Photodynamic therapy (PDT), a treatment that uses a photosensitizer, molecular oxygen, and light to kill target cells, is a promising cancer treatment method. However, a limitation of PDT is its dependence on light that is not highly penetrating, precluding the treatment of tumors located deep in the body. Copper-cysteamine nanoparticles are a new type of photosensitizer that can generate cytotoxic singlet oxygen molecules upon activation by X-rays. In this paper, we report on the use of copper-cysteamine nanoparticles, designed to be targeted to tumors, for X-ray–induced PDT. In an in vivo study, results show a statistically significant reduction in tumor size under X-ray activation of pH-low insertion peptide–conjugated, copper-cysteamine nanoparticles in mouse tumors. This work confirms the effectiveness of copper-cysteamine nanoparticles as a photosensitizer when activated by radiation and suggests that these Cu-Cy nanoparticles may be good candidates for PDT in deeply seated tumors when combined with X-rays and conjugated to a tumor-targeting molecule.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16823-16828
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number34
Publication statusPublished - 20 Aug 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Cancer
  • Copper-cysteamine
  • Nanoparticles
  • Photosensitization
  • Radiotherapy


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