Macrophage-targeted photodynamic therapy

T. N. Demidova, M. R. Hamblin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

53 Citations (Scopus)


Photodynamic therapy (PDT) uses light activatable molecules that after illumination produce reactive oxygen species and unwanted tissue destruction. PDT has dual selectivity due to control of light delivery and to some extent selective photosensitizer (PS) accumulation in tumors or other diseased tissue, additional targeted selectivity of PS for disease is necessary. The delivery of drugs to selected lesions can be enhanced by the preparation of targeted macromolecular conjugates that employ cell type specific targeting by ligand-receptor recognition. Macrophages and monocytes express a scavenger-receptor that is a high-capacity route for delivering molecules into endocytic compartments in a cell-type specific manner. We have shown that by attaching PS to scavenger-receptor ligands it is possible to get three logs of selective cell killing in macrophages while leaving non-macrophage cells unharmed. The capability to selectively kill macrophages has applications in treating cancer and in the detection and therapy of vulnerable atherosclerotic plaque and possibly for autoimmune disease and some infections.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-126
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Immunopathology and Pharmacology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Atherosclerosis
  • Cancer
  • Inflammation
  • Macrophages
  • Photosensitizer conjugate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Pharmacology


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