New generation of sensitizers for photodynamic therapy – deeper and better, with Prof Wei Chen

  • Date: 2 March 2022
  • Time: 13:00 pm
  • Cost: Free
  • Venue: Online
Join the Teams event on Wednesday 2 March at 1pm

Join ARU's Medical Technology Research Centre (MTRC) for an online seminar from Prof Wei Chen on his work to develop cancer treatments using X-rays and Copper Cysteamine (Cu-Cy) nanoparticles.

Despite its advantages, photodynamic therapy (PDT) has one major drawback: penetration depth. This limits the use of conventional PDT methods to skin (surface) tumours only and are not effective for deep tumours. There are four possible solutions for the light delivery of deep tumour treatment: particles activated by near-infrared (NIR) light, upconversion nanoparticles that absorb NIR light and emit visible light for other photosensitizers, fibre optics, and ionizing X-rays.

Of these options, the best is X-rays. Near-infrared light can penetrate only 5 mm in tissue while retaining enough energy to activate PSs. The use of fibre optics is neither convenient nor efficient as it cannot effectively and evenly activate the photosensitizers. It is also almost impossible for the treatment of metastatic sites or lymph nodes involved with this disease, unless they are located in the region where light delivery is feasible. In contrast with the other methods, X-rays can easily penetrate as deeply as necessary into patients, and are convenient as they are commonly used in cancer therapy.

The use of novel Cu-Cy nanoparticles is a good solution for overcoming these issues because Cu-Cy nanoparticles can be effectively activated by X-rays to produce singlet oxygen, which makes it very efficient for deep cancer treatment. Wei will discuss the use of copper cysteamine nanoparticles to enhance radiation therapy in combination with PDT and targeting therapies.

Prof Wei Chen is a Professor in the Department of Physics at the University of Texas at Arlington. He has authored and co-authored more than 308 papers in academic journals such as PNAS, Nano Letters, Signal Transduction and Targeted Therapy, Advanced Materials, Advanced Functional Materials, Materials Today Physics, Bioactive Materials, and Coordination Chemistry Reviews. He has presided over the compilation of one monograph (three volumes), two authored books (in press), and participated in the compilation of 13 monographs.

He proposed the concept of nanoparticle self-luminous photodynamic therapy for the treatment of deep cancer and invented the fourth-generation photosensitizer-copper cysteamine. This new type of photosensitizers can generate active oxygen in ultraviolet light, X-rays, microwaves and ultrasound for the treatment of cancer and infectious diseases. He also pioneered CuS based photothermal therapy and the microwave induced oxidative therapy.

He received his university's Distinguished Record of Research and Creative Activity Award in 2020, and was one of the 35 scientists from the US to be included in the National Academy of Inventors 2020 class of Senior Members. He was elected be a Fellow of the International Association of Advanced Materials (Sweden) and a Vebleo Fellow in 2020. He became a Sigma Xi full member and a Fellow of Royal Society of Chemistry (UK), and received a Pencis International Research Award on Oncology and Cancer Research, in 2021.

Contact MTRC@aru.ac.uk for more information.

  • Date: 2 March 2022
  • Time: 13:00 pm
  • Cost: Free
  • Venue: Online
Join the Teams event on Wednesday 2 March at 1pm