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Bruno Pena-Maceda

Ph.D. Student
B.S. Chemistry, 2009
Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú
Email :
Tel : 979-845-1966
Fax : 979-845-7177
Member since : 2009

Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a cancer treatment in which the therapeutic effect of a drug is selectively activated in the tumor area by light irradiation. The mechanism of action of clinically approved PDT drugs relies on the presence of oxygen: upon light irradiation, the singlet excited state of the drug undergoes intersystem crossing to a triplet state and then transfers its energy to oxygen to generate singlet oxygen (1O2), which is a highly toxic species and responsible for killing the cancer cells. Photofrin is considered the "gold standard" for PDT and it has been used to treat different types of cancer. However, its efficiency at sensitizing 1O2 is low (~20%) and patients treated with this drug suffer from severe skin photosensitivity. Our group, in collaboration with the Turro group at OSU, have prepared Ru(II) compounds that are able to generate 1O2 with 100% efficiency when irradiated with visible light (400-500 nm). Since the most malignant tumors are often hpoxic it is also essential to design compounds whose therapeutic effect does not rely on the presence of oxygen. In that case, we have prepared a new family of Ru(II) bis(acetonitrile) compounds that do not require oxygen to show a therapeutic effect: they generate aqua species when irradiated with visible light and are able to kill cancer cells. Within these two projects, the main goal of my research is to prepare Ru(II) compounds that can be activated with light of lower energy, since red and NIR light (600-820 nm) penetrates deeper into the tissue. We are also exploring the possiblity to modify our Ru(II) PDT agents and use them for solar energy applications, such as dyes for dye-sensitized solar cells.

Department of Chemistry | Texas A&M University | State of Texas