Phototheranostic Porphyrin Nanoparticles Enable Visualization and Targeted Treatment of Head and Neck Cancer in Clinically Relevant Models

Nidal Muhanna, Cheng S Jin, Elizabeth Huynh, Harley Chan, Yi Qiu, Wenlei Jiang, Liyang Cui, Laura Burgess, Margarete K Akens, Juan Chen, Jonathan C Irish, Gang Zheng
Head and neck cancer is the fifth most common type of cancer worldwide and remains challenging for effective treatment due to the proximity to critical anatomical structures in the head and neck region, which increases the probability of toxicity from surgery and radiotherapy, and therefore emphasizes the importance of maximizing the targeted ablation. We have assessed the effec- tiveness of porphysome nanoparticles to enhance fluorescence and photoacoustic imaging of head and neck tumors in rabbit and hamster models. In addition, we evaluated the effectiveness of this agent for localized photothermal ablative therapy of head and neck tumors. We have demon- strated that porphysomes not only enabled fluorescence and photoacoustic imaging of buccal and tongue carcinomas, but also allowed for complete targeted ablation of these tumors. The su- premacy of porphysome-enabled photothermal therapy over surgery to completely eradicate primary tumors and metastatic regional lymph node while sparing the adjacent critical structures’ function has been demonstrated for the first time. This study represents a novel breakthrough that has the potential to revolutionize our approach to tumor diagnosis and treatment in head and neck cancer and beyond.

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