Breaking photoswitch activation depth limit using ionising radiation stimuli adapted to clinical application

Alban Guesdon-Vennerie, Patrick Couvreur, Fatoumia Ali, Frédéric Pouzoulet, Christophe Roulin, Immaculada Martínez-Rovira, Guillaume Bernadat, François Xavier Legrand, Claudie Bourgaux, Cyril Lucien Mazars, Sergio Marco, Sylvain Trépout, Simona Mura, Sébastien Mériaux, Guillaume Bort*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Electromagnetic radiation-triggered therapeutic effect has attracted a great interest over the last 50 years. However, translation to clinical applications of photoactive molecular systems developed to date is dramatically limited, mainly because their activation requires excitation by low-energy photons from the ultraviolet to near infra-red range, preventing any activation deeper than few millimetres under the skin. Herein we conceive a strategy for photosensitive-system activation potentially adapted to biological tissues without any restriction in depth. High-energy stimuli, such as those employed for radiotherapy, are used to carry energy while molecular activation is provided by local energy conversion. This concept is applied to azobenzene, one of the most established photoswitches, to build a radioswitch. The radiation-responsive molecular system developed is used to trigger cytotoxic effect on cancer cells upon gamma-ray irradiation. This breakthrough activation concept is expected to expand the scope of applications of photosensitive systems and paves the way towards the development of original therapeutic approaches.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4102
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


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