Synthesis, Characterization, and Application of Silica-Based Nanoparticulate Platforms for the Delivery of Photosensitizers in the Use of Photodynamic Therapy for Cancer Treatment
Photodynamic therapy (PDT) for cancer therapy is an alternative therapeutic that does not have the side effects associated with current treatments (chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery). PDT requires three components: light, oxygen and a photosensitizer (PS). PSs are the primary component as these compounds absorb light and, through an energy transfer, produce a toxic oxygen species. However, the delivery of PSs remains one of the largest drawbacks to PDT. My research entails designing nanoparticle delivery platforms to overcome these drawbacks and efficiently deliver an active PS to desired tissues. I synthesize and characterize my PSs using various methods such as, NMR, IR, DLS, zeta potential, SEM, UV-vis, and fluorescence spectroscopy. I also perform the in vitro studies including fluorescence assisted cell sorting, laser confocal microscopy and phototoxicity studies using MTS viability assays. I have started working on animal trials to determine the biocompatibility, biodistribution, and phototherapeutic efficacy in an MDA-MB-231 triple negative breast cancer xenograft mouse model.