Biolistic Delivery of Photosensitizer-Loaded Porous Si Carriers for Localized Photodynamic Therapy

Elina Haimov-Talmoud, Michal Rosenberg, Sofia Arshavsky-Graham, Eli Varon, Orit Shefi, Ester Segal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Among numerous approaches for treating cancer, clinically approved photodynamic therapy (PDT) is considered a promising non-invasive therapeutic strategy for solid tumors. While PDT has distinct advantages over conventional cancer treatments, systemic exposure to the photosensitizer and its stability are some of the limitations of clinical PDT. Herein, a therapeutic strategy for highly localized focal PDT is introduced based on direct biolistic delivery of photosensitizer-loaded carriers to cancerous tumors. Degradable porous silicon microparticles (PSiMPs) are used as efficient carriers for the photosensitizer, meso-tetrahydroxy-phenylchlorin (mTHPC), and its conjugates with gold nanoparticles (AuNP-mTHPC conjugates). The loaded PSiMP carriers are successfully bombarded using a pneumatic gene gun to breast cancer cells in vitro and into tumor xenografts in vivo, and subsequent uptake of the released photosensitizer payload is demonstrated. PDT irradiation is commenced after 24 h based on the release profile, resulting in complete cell death in vitro and substantial inhibition of tumor growth in vivo. Notably, using empty PSiMP carriers also leads to some tumor growth inhibition, ascribing to its intrinsic photosensitizing activity. Treatment with AuNP-mTHPC-loaded PSiMPs exhibits a superior therapeutic effect in comparison to bombarded mTHPC-loaded carriers and administration of free mTHPC. This biolistic delivery scheme may be advantageous for precision photodynamic therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2300877
JournalAdvanced Materials Technologies
Issue number23
StatePublished - 13 Dec 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors. Advanced Materials Technologies published by Wiley-VCH GmbH.


E.H.‐T. and M.R. contributed equally to this work. The authors thank Menachem Motiei for his valuable assistance in the in vivo work and Oz Mualem for his help in the in vitro image analysis. E.S. and M.R. acknowledge the financial support of the Russell Berrie Nanotechnology Institute at the Technion. OS and EHT acknowledge the financial support of the Israel Cancer Association (2023‐0072) and the Israeli Ministry of Science and Technology.

FundersFunder number
Russell Berrie Nanotechnology Institute
Israel Cancer Association2023‐0072
Ministry of science and technology, Israel
Technion-Israel Institute of Technology


    • biolistics
    • cancers
    • delivery
    • nanoparticles
    • photosensitizers
    • phototherapy
    • porous silicon


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