Porphyrin-Implanted Carbon Nanodots for Photoacoustic Imaging and in Vivo Breast Cancer Ablation

Fengshou Wu, Huifang Su, Yuchen Cai*, Rick W K WONG, Wenqi Jiang, Xunjin ZHU

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

104 Citations (Scopus)


The incorporation of intensive light absorbing porphyrins macrocycles with biocompatible nanoparticles would lead to new nanomaterials with multiple imaging and therapeutic modalities. Herein, a facile synthetic strategy has been applied to prepare porphyrin-implanted carbon nanodots (PNDs) by partial and selective pyrolysis of 5,10,15,20-tetrakis(4-aminophenyl)porphyrin (TAPP) and citric acid (CA) at an appropriate temperature. As-prepared PNDs exhibit not only the excellent stability and biocompatibility characteristic of carbon nanodots but also the unique properties of porphyrin macrocycle such as strong UV-visible and near-infrared absorption, specifically, high photodynamic therapy efficiency. More importantly, the PNDs with near-infrared absorption could act as a contrast agent for photoacoustic molecular imaging with deep tissue penetration and fine spatial resolution. The Cetuximab-conjugated porphyrin-based carbon nanodots (C225-PNDs) have been further prepared to precisely target the cancer cells (HCC827 and MDA-MB-231 cells) with overexpression of EGFR, leading to highly efficient photodynamic therapy upon two-photo excitation at 800 nm. A complete ablation of tumor together with an enhanced photoacoustic contrast ability for C225-PNDs have been further validated in mice bearing MDA-MB-231 breast cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)110-117
Number of pages8
JournalACS Applied Bio Materials
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jul 2018

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Biomaterials
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Biochemistry, medical

User-Defined Keywords

  • nanomaterials
  • photoacoustic imaging
  • photodynamic therapy
  • porphyrin
  • two-photon irradiation


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