PHOCA - Photoactivated cancer therapy in controlled cell microenvironment

PRIN [2023-2025]


PHOCA aims to develop and test new strategies for light triggered localized release of drugs and photosensitizers (PSs) for photodynamic therapy (PDT) of head and neck cancer. PHOCA will design and realize nanocarriers with light-activated release activity. Photoisomerizable moieties will be employed to actuate on demand drug delivery and the nanocarriers will be decorated to selectively target cancer cells.

PDT efficacy is strongly influenced by the tissue microenvironment: PHOCA will finely address this fundamental feature by employing an innovative technology that enables cell culturing under controlled microenvironments. Light-activated PS release and light-induced cytotoxicity will be studied as a function of the cell microenvironment.

The differentiation and activation of immune cells against cancer cells will be studied upon the light-activated release of PS. PHOCA uniquely employs a triple targeting strategy to increase the selectivity of the therapy and decrease the toxic side effects: i) light activated release; ii) light activation of the PDT; iii) specific targeting of the nanocarriers to cancer cells.

Departmental scientific manager

Matteo Di Giosia (local manager)


Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche