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Two-Photon-Responsive "TICT + AIE" Active Naphthyridine-BF 2 Photoremovable Protecting Group: Application for Specific Staining and Killing of Cancer Cells.

The combined effects of twisted intramolecular charge transfer (TICT) and aggregation-induced emission (AIE) phenomena have demonstrated a significant influence on excited-state chemistry. These combined TICT and AIE features have been extensively utilized to enhance photodynamic and photothermal therapy. Herein, we demonstrated the synergistic capabilities of TICT and AIE phenomena in the design of the photoremovable protecting group (PRPG), namely, NMe2 -Napy-BF2 . This innovative PRPG incorporates TICT and AIE characteristics, resulting in four remarkable properties: (i) red-shifted absorption wavelength, (ii) strong near-infrared (NIR) emission, (iii) viscosity-sensitive emission property, and (iv) accelerated photorelease rate. Inspired by these intriguing attributes, we developed a nanodrug delivery system (nano-DDS) using our PRPG for cancer treatment. In vitro studies showed that our nano-DDS manifested effective cellular internalization, specific staining of cancer cells, high-resolution confocal imaging of cancerous cells in the NIR region, and controlled release of the anticancer drug chlorambucil upon exposure to light, leading to cancer cell eradication. Most notably, our nano-DDS exhibited a substantially increased two-photon (TP) absorption cross section (435 GM), exhibiting its potential for in vivo applications. This development holds promise for significant advancements in cancer treatment strategies.

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