Photodynamic therapy with fullerenes in vivo: Reality or a dream?

Sulbha K. Sharma, Long Y. Chiang, Michael R. Hamblin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

221 Citations (Scopus)


Photodynamic therapy (PDT) employs the combination of nontoxic photosensitizers and visible light that is absorbed by the chromophore to produce long-lived triplet states that can carry out photochemistry in the presence of oxygen to kill cells. The closed carbon-cage structure found in fullerenes can act as a photosensitizer, especially when functionalized to impart water solubility. Although there are reports of the use of fullerenes to carry out light-mediated destruction of viruses, microorganisms and cancer cells in vitro, the use of fullerenes to mediate PDT of diseases such as cancer and infections in animal models is less well developed. It has recently been shown that fullerene PDT can be used to save the life of mice with wounds infected with pathogenic Gram-negative bacteria. Fullerene PDT has also been used to treat mouse models of various cancers including disseminated metastatic cancer in the peritoneal cavity. In vivo PDT with fullerenes represents a new application in nanomedicine.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1813-1825
Number of pages13
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • antimicrobial photosensitizers
  • functionalized fullerenes
  • hydroxyl radicals
  • invasive wound infection
  • mouse models
  • peritoneal carcinomatosis
  • photodynamic therapy
  • singlet oxygen

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • General Materials Science


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