Research Spotlight | New Application for Cancer Immunotherapy


The team of Professor Jibin Song and Professor Huanghao Yang recently developed ROS-sensitive BPNVs encapsulating the immunoadjuvant CpG for anticancer photodynamic immunotherapy.

Congratulations to researchers for publishing the latest articles in the top-level journal "Advanced Functional Materials". It is a great honor for Elabscience's products to contribute to this great scientific research achievement. Elabscience is determined to be strict with itself and be the most loyal partner of scientific research scholars!

Fundamental Information:

Title: NIR/ROS-Responsive Black Phosphorus QD Vesicles as Immunoadjuvant Carrier for Specific Cancer Photodynamic Immunotherapy

Journal: Advanced Functional Materials

IF16.836 (2019)

Institution of the first author: Fuzhou University, Fuzhou, China

Institution of the corresponding author: Fuzhou University, Fuzhou, China

Elabscience® Products Cited:

Cat. No


Detection target


Tested sample



Mouse IL-6





Mouse TNF-α





Mouse IL-12



Background of the Research:

Black phosphorus (BP), a metal-free layered, biocompatible semiconductor known for its exceptional optical characteristics in near-infrared region (NIR) is used in numerous biomedical purposes. BP quantum dots (BPQDs), or their nanocrystals, can produce enormous amounts of reactive oxygen species (ROS) because they have high carrier mobility and possesses layer-dependent tunable direct band gap. They can induce apoptosis in cancer cells being photodynamic therapy (PDT) agents. However, theranostic efficacy of BPQD’s can be reduced due to their ultra-small sizes as they clear from the tissues rapidly. Increasing the dimensions of BPQDs and developing novel, multifunctional theranostic nanoplatforms is necessary for advancement of anticancer therapeutics.

Cancer immunotherapy triggers antitumor immune response of the host which prevents the proliferation of tumor cells and boosts tumor immunogenicity. In recent years, in situ immunogenic cell death (ICD)-inducing models are being widely studied due to hopeful preclinical results. Necrotic tumor cells act as “vaccines” and attract antigen presenting cells (APCs). These APCs present the tumor-associated antigens to naive T cells resulting in activation of cytotoxic T (Tc) cells which promotes an interactive immune response against the residual tumor cells. Photodynamic immunotherapy (PDT), an anticancer model that induces ICD, begins a concurrent antitumor immune response and directly kills tumor cell, by saving normal tissues from significant damage. Still, weak immunoadjuvants hinder in satisfactory therapeutic effects. It was observed that CpG oligodeoxynucleotides (CpG ODNs) are potential adjuvants that enhance cytokine secretion by APCs, and exhibited promising results. So, delivery of CpG ODNs to APCs need a suitable carrier since the ODNs could rapidly cleared from circulation.

Experimental Design:

Schematic illustration of the synthesis of CpG-loaded BPQD vesicles (BPNVs-CpG)

In this study, NIR/ROS sensitive BPQD vesicles (BPNVs) are prepared by self-assembly of amphiphilic BPQDs grafted with polyethylene glycol and ROS sensitive poly (propylene sulfide) (PPS).

In the therapy process, the BPNVs-CpG was disassociated into single BPQD with deep tumor penetration induced by the generated ROS triggered by NIR laser, followed by the release of CpG, leading to enhanced cancer imaging and immune-related therapy.

Research Findings:

  1. 1. ROS-sensitive BPNVs encapsulating the immunoadjuvant CpG for anticancer photodynamic immunotherapy have been developed. BPNVs exhibited enhanced photo-absorption in the NIR region
  2. 2. High levels of ROS are generated from BPNVs-CpG under NIR laser irradiation trigger the change of hydrophobic PPS to hydrophilic polymers. ROS induced the controlled release of free BPQDs and CpG at the tumor site for tumor growth inhibition and enhanced PA imaging.
  3. 3. The potent ICD effect and local accumulation of CpG induced an antitumor immune response, which also effectively inhibited distant tumor growth and lung metastasis.
  4. 4. The BPNVs showed interactive photodynamic therapy combined with immunotherapy, due to simultaneous release of small BPQDs with deep tumor penetration and CpG with enhanced immunotherapy.


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