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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter February 19, 2014

Porphysome nanoparticles: Tailoring treatments with nature’s pigments

Porphysom-Nanopartikel: Individualisierte Behandlung mit natürlichen Pigmenten
  • Thomas D. MacDonald and Gang Zheng EMAIL logo


Porphysomes are an emerging class of photonic nanoparticles formed from the self-assembly of porphyrin-lipid conjugates. They retain the multifunctional properties of their porphyrin building-blocks but also have unique properties emerging from the nanostructure itself. Porphysomes are able to act in a number of photonic modalities, from diagnostic fluorescence and photoacoustic imaging, to photodynamic and photothermal therapies. This flexibility enables customizable interventions with potential in the burgeoning field of personalized medicine. Here, we profile early porphysome-like liposomes, true porphysomes, as well as newer porphysome derivatives. We discuss the current applications and future outlook for these multimodal theranostic nanoparticles.


Porphysome sind eine neue Klasse von photonischen Nanopartikeln, die durch die Selbstanordnung von Porphyrin-Lipid-Konjugaten gebildet werden. Sie besitzen nicht nur die multifunktionalen Eigenschaften ihrer Porphyrin-Bausteine, sondern haben auch einzigartige Eigenschaften, die sich aus der Nanostruktur selbst ergeben. Porphysome können in einer Reihe von verschiedenen photonischen Modalitäten eingesetzt werden, von der Fluoreszenzdiagnostik und photoakustischen Bildgebung bis hin zu photodynamischen und photothermischen Therapien. Diese Flexibilität birgt ein großes Potenzial für anpassbare Interventionen im aufstrebenden Bereich der personalisierten Medizin. Im vorliegenden Artikel porträtieren die Autoren frühe porphysom-ähnliche Liposome, echte Porphysome sowie neuere Porphysom-Derivate und diskutieren die aktuellen Anwendungen sowie die Zukunftsaussichten für diese multimodalen Theranostik-Nanopartikel.

Corresponding author: Gang Zheng, Ontario Cancer Institute, Campbell Family Institute for Cancer Research, and Techna Institute, University Health Network, 610 University Avenue, Toronto, Ontario M5G 2M9, Canada; Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Toronto, 144 College Street, Toronto, Ontario M5S 3M2, Canada; and Department of Medical Biophysics, University of Toronto, 610 University Avenue, Toronto, Ontario M5G 2M9, Canada, e-mail:


Funding was provided by Canadian Institute of Health Research, Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, Canadian Space Agency, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, Canadian Foundation for Innovation, Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation, Joey and Toby Tanenbaum/Brazilian Ball Chair in Prostate Cancer Research, and MaRS Innovation.


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Received: 2013-12-11
Revised: 2014-1-21
Accepted: 2014-1-29
Published Online: 2014-2-19
Published in Print: 2014-8-1

©2014 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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