The theranostic complex with two toxic modules shows great toxicity for tumour cells

Emerging cancer nanotechnology enables target-delivery of substantial payloads of drugs to cancer sites with concomitant reduction of side-effects due to the lesser accumulation in the critical organs. This prompts loading of nanocarriers with therapeutic cargo and contrast agents, allowing combined cancer therapy and tumour visualization, respectively. Researchers from Lobachevsky University of Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, have implemented such combined therapy using conjugates of radionuclide yttrium-90-doped upconversion nanoparticles (UCNP) and targeted toxin. The resultant hybrid theranostic complex showed high therapeutic efficacy and high imaging contrast both in vitro and in vivo. More specifically, the developed complex addresses oncotherapy of HER2 positive cancers.

Core of the complex represents an UCNP. Owing to their unique photophysical properties, UCNPs are widely used as a platform for assembling theranostics complexes. Conversion of deeply-penetrating in biological tissue near-infrared light (NIR) to the higher photon-energy visible, ultraviolet and NIR light is among UCNP most useful properties.

The developed theranostic complex carries two toxic modules – beta emitter 90Y and targeted toxin DARPin-PE40, which exert toxic effects on tumour cells by different mechanisms. A strong synergism in the toxic effect was observed upon the use of two toxic modules, i.e. the total effect of the two toxicants was


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