Experimental tests of the feasibility of singlet oxygen luminescence monitoring in vivo during photodynamic therapy
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Singlet oxygen (1O2) is thought to be the cytotoxic agent in photodynamic therapy (PDT) with current photosensitizers. Direct monitoring of 1O2 concentration in vivo would be a valuable tool in studying biological response. Attempts were made to measure 1O2 IR luminescence during PDT of cell suspensions and two murine tumour models using the photosensitizers Photofrin II and aluminium chlorosulphonated phthalocyanine. Instrumentation was virtually identical to that devised by Parker in the one positive report of in vivo luminescence detection in the literature. Despite the fact that our treatments caused cell killing and tissue necrosis, we were unable to observe 1O2 emission under any conditions. We attribute this negative result to a reduction in 1O2 lifetime in the cellular environment. Quantitative calibration of our system allowed us to estimate that the singlet oxygen lifetime in tissue is less than 0.5 microsecond. Some technical improvements are suggested which would improve detector performance and perhaps make such measurements feasible.
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