Actively targeted photodynamic therapy in multicellular colorectal cancer spheroids via functionalised gold nanoparticles

Nokuphila Winifred Nompumelelo Simelane, Heidi Abrahamse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Photodynamic therapy (PDT) holds great potential to overcome limitations associated with common colorectal cancer (CRC) treatment approaches. Targeted photosensitiser (PS) delivery systems using nanoparticles (NPs) with targeting moieties are continually being designed, which are aimed at enhancing PS efficacy in CRC PDT. However, the optimisation of targeted PS delivery systems in most, in vitro PDT studies has been conducted on two dimensional (2D) monolayers cell cultures. In our present study, we developed a nano PS delivery system for in vitro cultured human colorectal three-dimensional multicellular spheroids (3D MCTS). PEGylated gold nanoparticles (PEG-AuNPs) were prepared and attached to ZnPcS4PS and further functionalised with specific CRC targeting anti-Guanylate Cyclase monoclonal antibodies(mAb). The ZnPcS4-AuNP-Anti-GCC Ab (BNC) nanoconjugates were successfully synthesised and their photodynamic effect investigated following exposure to laser irradiation and demonstrated enhanced anticancer effects in Caco-2 cells cultivated as 3D MCTS spheroids. Our findings suggest that targeted BNC nanoconjugates can improve the efficacy of PDT and highlight the potential of 3D MCTS tumour model for evaluating of targeted PDT.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)309-320
Number of pages12
JournalArtificial Cells, Nanomedicine and Biotechnology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2024


  • Colorectal cancer
  • nanoparticles
  • photodynamic therapy
  • photosensitiser
  • three-dimensional (3D) culture models

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Pharmaceutical Science


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