Towards novel photodynamic anticancer agents generating superoxide anion radicals: A cyclometalated Ir(III) complex conjugated to a far-red emitting coumarin


Novohradsky, V.; Rovira, A.; Hally, C.; Galindo, A.; Vigueras, G.; Gandioso, A.; Svitelova, M.; Bresolí-Obach, R.; Kostrhunova, H.; Markova, L.; Kasparkova, J.; Nonell, S.; Ruiz, J.; Brabec, V.; Marchán, V.


Although cyclometalated IrIII complexes have emerged as promising photosensitizers for photodynamic therapy, some key drawbacks still hamper clinical translation, such as operability in the phototherapeutic window and reactive oxygen species (ROS) production efficiency and selectivity. In this work, a cyclometalated IrIII complex conjugated to a far‐red‐emitting coumarin, IrIII–COUPY, is reported with highly favourable properties for cancer phototherapy. IrIII–COUPY was efficiently taken up by HeLa cells and showed no dark cytotoxicity and impressive photocytotoxicity indexes after irradiation with green and blue light, even under hypoxia. Importantly, a clear correlation between cell death and intracellular generation of superoxide anion radicals after visible light irradiation was demonstrated. This strategy opens the door to novel fluorescent photodynamic therapy agents with promising applications in theragnosis.








Angewandte Chemie-International Edition​, 2019, vol. 58, no. 19, p. 6311-6315

Date of publication