New light-activated drugs to facilitate anti-tumour treatment

Vicente Marchán


    Vicente Marchán


    Universitat de Barcelona, Spain


    Photodynamic therapy is a non-invasive technique currently used in clinical practice for tumour destruction. It is based on the combination of three components: light, oxygen and a drug called a photosensitiser. The technique is also used to treat certain skin conditions, fungal and microbial infections, and age-related macular degeneration. However, the fact that most solid tumours have highly hypoxic (oxygen-deficient) regions limits the effectiveness of photodynamic therapy, as the activity of current photosensitisers is highly dependent on oxygen concentration. Therefore, there is a need to develop new drugs to treat some of the hypoxic tumours with the worst prognosis, such as glioblastoma, colorectal cancer or pancreatic cancer, among others.

    The project team has recently patented a new family of photosensitisers which, in addition to being non-toxic in the dark and effectively activated by light, display excellent activity under low oxygen concentration conditions. This paves the way for the treatment of deep, large hypoxic tumours through photodynamic therapy.

    The aim of the project is to facilitate the transition of these new anti-tumour drugs so they can ultimately reach patients. To achieve this, safety and efficacy tests in animal models will be conducted during this phase.


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    Stage 2