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Aminolevulinic Acid Derivatives and Liposome Delivery as Strategies for Improving 5-Aminolevulinic Acid- Mediated Photodynamic Therapy

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Photodynamic Therapy employing 5-aminolevulinic acid (ALA) as a precursor of the photosensitizer Protoporphyrin IX has become a promising approach to treat superficial cancers. However, the hydrophilic nature of the ALA molecule somewhat limits the penetration through the skin as well as all cell membranes. Different attempts are currently under investigation to enhance ALA penetration, such as the development of new synthetic and more lipophilic molecules derived from ALA and the incorporation of ALA into lipophilic vehicles such as liposomes. Among the new synthesized molecules, we can find ALA esters, ALA aminoacid derivatives and ALA dendrimers. In general, there is consensus that the promising results obtained in vitro with ALA esters cannot be reproduced in vivo. However, ALA methyl ester (1) has been widely used for treatment of skin malignancies and ALA hexyl ester (15) proved to be more powerful than ALA in bladder imaging. ALA aminoacid derivatives have been designed to use specific cellular aminopeptidases to targeting tumors, and it was shown that they can be metabolized to ALA with some specificity.

Keywords: ALA derivatives; ALA esters; Aminolevulinic acid; Dendrimers; Photodynamic therapy; Tumor; liposomes

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Viamonte 1881 10A, 1056 Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Publication date: 2006-04-01

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