Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a clinical treatment that uses a combination of light, photosensitising drugs and molecular oxygen to kill diseased cells. Upon absorption of light energy by the sensitizer, an electron is promoted from the singlet ground state (S0) to a higher energy singlet excited state (S1, S2…). Any electrons that occupy orbitals higher than S1 return to S1 via a non-radiative process known as internal

Antimicrobial PDT /SDT

Currently, drugs used to combat infection are on the verge of being beaten by the bacteria they are designed to kill. Bacteria are constantly adapting to enable them to resist treatment by antibiotics-so called “resistant strains of bacteria”. Probably the best example of such a bacterium is Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA). Now the drug used to treat MRSA, vancomycin, is also showing evidence of resistance.


Sonodynamic therapy (SDT) is an emerging therapeutic approach that offers very significant potential in the treatment of cancer. The term ‘sonodynamic’ first appeared in the scientific literature in the late 1980s when a Japanese research group discovered that treating porphyrins (naturally-occurring molecules – e.g. the organic part of the haem group in haemoglobin) with ultrasound, resulted in the generation


Drug molecules with molecular weights in excess of 1kDa are usually taken by cells through the process of endocytosis which can prevent them from reaching their intracellular target due to entrapment and enzymatic degradation within endocytic vesicles. PCI is an emerging technique that can be used to rupture the endosome releasing the drug(s) captured within. In PCI, a low concentration of an amphiphilc sensitiser is co-administered with the drug and localises in the membrane of the drug encapsulated endosome.

Latest News



CPSR welcomes Jinhui Gao (Andy) to the group who is starting his PhD investigating Microbubble-Liposomal formulations for delivery of drug cocktails. (Oct-2017)


Congratulation to CPSR researchers Jordan Aitchison, Dr Sukanta Kamila, Dr Heather Nesbitt, Keiran Logan, and Dean Nicholas on publishing their work in Chem Commun. Full details:  J. Atchison, S.  Kamila,  H.  Nesbitt,  K. A. Logan,   D. M. Nicholas,   C. Fowley,   J. Davis,   B. Callan,   A. P. McHale,  J. F Callan Chem. Commun. (2017) ,53, 2009-2012. “Iodinated cyanine dyes: a new class of sensitisers for use in NIR activated photodynamic therapy (PDT)”. (Jan-2017)


CPSR researchers Prof John Callan and Prof Anthony McHale, in partnership with Prof Eleanor Stride and Prof Kate Vallis from the University of Oxford, have been awarded grant of £179,880 from the Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund (PCRF), to support their work on a project titled “ Improving Tumour Oxygenation to Enhance the Combined Sonodynamic and Radiotherapy Treatment of Pancreatic Cancer”. Click here to read more from the BBC News article (Dec-2016)


Congratulations to CPSR researchers Dr Heather Nesbitt and Conor McEwan for publishing their research in PloS One in collaboration with Prof Eleanor Strides group in Oxford. Full details:  J. Owen, C. McEwan, H.  Nesbitt, P. Bovornchutichai, R. Averre, M. Borden, A .P McHale, J F. Callan, E.  Stride. PLoS ONE (2016), 11(12): e0168088. doi:10.1371/journal. pone.0168088  “Reducing Tumour Hypoxia via Oral Administration of Oxygen Nanobubbles”. (Dec-2016)


CPSR welcomes Keiran Logan to the group who is starting his PhD investigating the development of single microbubble platforms for the delivery of multiple payloads. (Oct-2016)


Prof Callan delivers lecture on work conducted by CPSR researchers entitled “Shining light on Cancer-new perspectives in Photodynamic Therapy” to the Institute of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Oxford.

CPSR research into pancreatic cancer has been highlighted on BBC news and national media. Click here to read more from the BBC News article  and  video.