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UCNs Helps Cancer Treatment

 Research

A research team from the School of Life Sciences of Tianjin University, led by Professor Chang Jin, have developed a versatile up-conversion optogenetic nanosystem based on a blue-light-mediated heterodimerization module and rare-earth up-conversion nanoparticles (UCNs). The UCNs worked as a nanotransducer to convert external near-infrared (NIR) light to local blue light to non-invasively activate photoreceptors for optogenetic manipulation in vivo. The research is expected to provide a new minimally invasive treatment for malignant tumors. The research paper, Near-Infrared Light Triggered Up-conversion Optogenetic Nanosystem for Cancer Therapy, was published in ACS Nano, an internationally famous nano-science journal.   

Optogenetic manipulation has become one of the most alluring techniques in the biotechnology field in the new century. However, the technology was unable to achieve its clinical function of an implantation of a visible light source required in the human body, without damaging an individual’s health. Alternatively, wearing wire line equipment was unpractical, for it impeded people’s movement.

The research team successfully solved the problem under the leadership of Professor Chang. In the experiment, UCNs@(Fas-Cib+Cry2-FADD) were intratumorally injected into the mice with Gd and ICG and irradiated using an NIR laser. After 4 weeks of treatment, it was apparent that the tumor volume and weight diminished with longer survival.
 
"UCNs with optogenetics technology when used for anti-tumor targeted therapy as visible light is minimally invasive with deep tissue penetrability and good manipulation. It promises to realize the manipulation of multicellular pathways through combining different rare earth elements and modifying proteins with photoreception functions." Professor Chang said.
By: Du Peiran, Wang Kai
Editors: Sun Xiaofang and Ross Colquhoun