Zinc phthalocyanine-soybean phospholipid complex based drug carrier for switchable photoacoustic/fluorescence image, multiphase photothermal/photodynamic treatment and synergetic therapy

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For the purpose of precision theranostic of tumor, multifunctional drug delivery systems are always receiving great attentions. Here, we developed a zinc phthalocyanine-soybean phospholipid (ZnPc-SPC) complex based drug delivery system with doxorubicin (Dox) as loading cargo to achieve additional chemotherapy while the carrier itself could serve as multifunctional and switchable theranostic agent. In the early phase, the ZnPc-SPC complex assembled to nanostructure displaying photothermal therapy (PTT) and photoacoustic (PA) properties while in the late phase, the prepared NPs dis-assembled into ZnPc-SPC complex again performing photodynamic therapy (PDT) and low-background fluorescence (FL) image. With the decoration of folate receptors α (FRα) targeted MTX, Dox-loaded, MTX-decorated self-assembled ZnPc-SPC complex NPs (DZSM) was formed. In vitro and in vivo evaluations both indicated that DZSM presented high selectivity for FRα over-expressed tumor cells, excellent switchable PA/FL image, significant multiphase PTT/PDT effect, as well as great synergetic therapy potential, leading to notable inhibition of tumor growth.Graphical abstractSchematic illustration of the early phase PA image and PTT effect at assemble state and late phase FL image and PDT effect at dis-assemble state.

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