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Durham University

Research & business

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Publication details for Prof. J.A. Gareth Williams

McKenzie, L. K., Sazanovich, I. V., Baggaley, E., Bonneau, M., Guerchais, V., Williams, J. A. G., Weinstein, J. A. & Bryant, H. E. (2017). Metal Complexes for Two-Photon Photodynamic Therapy: A Cyclometallated Iridium Complex Induces Two-Photon Photosensitization of Cancer Cells under Near-IR Light. Chemistry - A European Journal 23(2): 234-238.

Author(s) from Durham

Abstract

Photodynamic therapy (PDT) uses photosensitizers (PS) which only become cytotoxic upon light-irradiation. Transition-metal complexes are highly promising PS due to long excited-state lifetimes, and high photo-stabilities. However, these complexes usually absorb higher-energy UV/Vis light, whereas the optimal tissue transparency is in the lower-energy NIR region. Two-photon excitation (TPE) can overcome this dichotomy, with simultaneous absorption of two lower-energy NIR-photons populating the same PS-active excited state as one higher-energy photon. We introduce two low-molecular weight, long-lived and photo-stable iridium complexes of the [Ir(N^C)2(N^N)]+ family with high TP-absorption, which localise to mitochondria and lysosomal structures in live cells. The compounds are efficient PS under 1-photon irradiation (405 nm) resulting in apoptotic cell death in diverse cancer cell lines at low light doses (3.6 J cm−2), low concentrations, and photo-indexes greater than 555. Remarkably 1 also displays high PS activity killing cancer cells under NIR two-photon excitation (760 nm), which along with its photo-stability indicates potential future clinical application.