Folic Acid-Conjugated Radioluminescent Calcium Tungstate Nanoparticles as Radio-Sensitizers for Cancer Radiotherapy. Academic Article uri icon


  • Radiation therapy is a primary treatment modality for many forms of cancer. Normally, the highest tolerable dose of ionizing radiation is used to treat tumors, but limitations imposed by normal tissue complications present challenges for local tumor control. In light of this, a class of compounds called radio-sensitizers have been developed to enhance the effectiveness of radiation. Many of these are small molecule drugs found to interact favorably with radiation therapy, but recent advances have been made using nanoparticles as radio-sensitizers. Herein, we report the utilization of radio-luminescent calcium tungstate nanoparticles that emit photoelectrons, UV-A, and visible light during X-ray irradiation, acting as effective radio-sensitizers ("Radio Luminescence Therapy"). In addition, a folic acid-functionalized form of these nanoparticles was shown to enhance radio-sensitization in vitro and in murine models of head and neck cancer. Folic acid-functionalized particles were found to decrease UV-A-induced clonogenic cell survival relative to nonfunctionalized particles. Several possible mechanisms were explored, and the folic acid-functionalized particles were found to mediate this increase in efficacy likely by activating pro-proliferative signaling through folate's innate mitogenic activity, leading to decreased repair of UV-A-induced DNA lesions. Finally, a clinical case study of a canine sarcoma patient demonstrated the initial safety and feasibility of translating these folic acid-functionalized particles into the clinic as radio-sensitizers in the treatment of spontaneous tumors.

published proceedings

  • ACS Biomater Sci Eng

author list (cited authors)

  • Pizzuti, V. J., Misra, R., Lee, J., Torregrosa-Allen, S. E., Currie, M. P., Clark, S. R., ... Won, Y.

citation count

  • 10

complete list of authors

  • Pizzuti, Vincenzo J||Misra, Rahul||Lee, Jaewon||Torregrosa-Allen, Sandra E||Currie, Melanie P||Clark, Scott R||Patel, Anish P||Schorr, Christopher R||Jones-Hall, Yava||Childress, Michael O||Plantenga, Jeannie M||Rancilio, Nicholas J||Elzey, Bennett D||Won, You-Yeon

publication date

  • September 2019