Develops Targeted Photoactivation Strategy for High-Risk Atheroma
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Date Modified Date : 2022.03.21 (Create Date : 2022.03.16)
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A Research Team Led by Professor Jin Won Kim from the Department of Internal Medicine Develops Targeted Photoactivation Strategy for High-Risk Atheroma 


Joint Research Team (Left to right: Professor Jin Won Kim from the Cardiovascular Center at Korea University Guro Hospital, Professor Kyeongsoon Park from the Department of Systems Biotechnology at Chung-Ang University, and Professor Hongki Yoo from the Department of Mechanical Engineering at KAIST)



A joint research team led by Professor Jin Won Kim from the Cardiovascular Center at Korea University Guro Hospital, Professor Kyeongsoon Park from the Department of Systems Biotechnology at Chung-Ang University, and Professor Hongki Yoo from the Department of Mechanical Engineering at KAIST developed a targeted theranostic photoactivation strategy to detect and selectively treat high-risk arteriosclerotic plaques.


Phototherapy is a medical treatment in which the molecular mechanism inside cells is regulated by activating photosensitizers accumulated in cells using a specific wavelength of light. The research team developed a new theranostic agent by conjugating dextran sulfate (DS) to chlorin e6 (Ce6), which targeted a specific receptor in macrophages, and selectively delivered light energy to target lesions through a custom-built laser system  resulting in the reduction and stabilization of high-risk inflammatory plaques.


The phototheranostic agent was designed to obtain images at the same time as it treats, verifying the therapeutic effect in vivo through an optimized small animal optical imaging system (Figure 1), and it is revealed that induction of autophagy via photoactivation led to the efferocytosis of dead cells (Figure 1).

 



(Figure 1) A schematic diagram of the mechanism of action of the targeted phototherapy. Therapeutic effect was maximized by selectively transmitting the photosensitizer Ce6 and inducing photoactivity through laser irradiation by targeting macrophages in the high-risk arteriosclerotic atheroma.


Professor Kim, the lead author of the study, said, "The results of this study will explain the mechanism of phototherapy for arteriosclerosis and at the same time open the door to the development of novel diagnosis and treatment strategies using light in cardiovascular conditions. We are currently developing an integrated theranostic strategy that fully combines the catheter and targeted precision imaging technology, which is expected to help overcome the limitations of existing approaches that have the risk from the remnant foreign materials such as stent”


The study was published in the latest issue of Journal of Nanobiotechnology (2020 JCR IF 10.435), a renowned international journal, with Ph. D. Joon Woo Song from KUCM and Jae Won Ahn from Chung-Ang University as first authors. The research was conducted with support from the National Research Foundation of korea.


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