Theranostics 2021; 11(7):3278-3300. doi:10.7150/thno.54227


Recent advances in innovative strategies for enhanced cancer photodynamic therapy

Tingting Hu1, Zhengdi Wang1, Weicheng Shen1, Ruizheng Liang1✉, Dan Yan2✉, Min Wei1✉

1. State Key Laboratory of Chemical Resource Engineering, Beijing Advanced Innovation Center for Soft Matter Science and Engineering, Beijing University of Chemical Technology, Beijing 100029, P. R. China.
2. Beijing Friendship Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing 100050, P. R. China.

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Hu T, Wang Z, Shen W, Liang R, Yan D, Wei M. Recent advances in innovative strategies for enhanced cancer photodynamic therapy. Theranostics 2021; 11(7):3278-3300. doi:10.7150/thno.54227. Available from

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Photodynamic therapy (PDT), a non-invasive therapeutic modality, has received increasing attention owing to its high selectivity and limited side effects. Although significant clinical research progress has been made in PDT, the breadth and depth of its clinical application have not been fully realized due to the limitations such as inadequate light penetration depth, non-targeting photosensitizers (PSs), and tumor hypoxia. Consequently, numerous investigations put their emphasis on innovative strategies to overcome the aforementioned limitations and enhance the therapeutic effect of PDT. Herein, up-to-date advances in these innovative methods for PDT are summarized by introducing the design of PS systems, their working mechanisms and application examples. In addition, current challenges of these innovative strategies for clinical application, and future perspectives on further improvement of PDT are also discussed.

Keywords: photodynamic therapy, light source, photosensitizers, tumor hypoxia