CONICET Posdoctoral fellow
Director: M. Laura Fanani
Interaction of Zn phthalocyanine with model systems of cell membranes
The photodynamic therapy of cancer is a non-invasive tumors treatment. It is based on the systemic administration of a photosensitizer followed by illumination, with light of appropriate wavelength, located in the tumor. The photodynamic reactions results in the formation of singlet oxygen and other reactive oxygen species, which lead to tumor destruction. Due to the short half-life of singlet oxygen, the damage produced is limited to the subcellular location of the photosensitizing drug. The efficacy of photodynamic therapy depends on the development of new drugs, their ability to accumulate intracellularly and their efficiency in the photodynamic reaction. Among the most promising second-generation photosensitizers are phthalocyanines, due to their high absorbance coefficient in the range of 650 to 700 nm which is an important advantage since light from this area can penetrate the biological tissue, such as skin. In this project we propose the study of the biophysical bases that determine the selectivity of Zn phthalocyanine for different types of membranes, through the use of cell membrane model systems. These model systems simulate the lipid composition, electrostatic properties, thickness and rheology of cell membranes of different eukaryotic organelles (plasma membrane, mitochondria, endoplasmic reticulum and lysosome) and of the internal and external membranes of Gram-negative bacteria.