The development of nanotheranostic agents that integrate diagnosis and therapy for effective personalized precision medicine has obtained tremendous attention in the past few decades. In this report, biocompatible electron donor–acceptor conjugated semiconducting polymer nanoparticles (PPor-PEG NPs) with light-harvesting unit is prepared and developed for highly effective photoacoustic imaging guided photothermal therapy. To the best of our knowledge, it is the first time that the concept of light-harvesting unit is exploited for enhancing the photoacoustic signal and photothermal energy conversion in polymer-based theranostic agent. Combined with additional merits including donor–acceptor pair to favor electron transfer and fluorescence quenching effect after NP formation, the photothermal conversion efficiency of the PPor-PEG NPs is determined to be 62.3%, which is the highest value among reported polymer NPs. Moreover, the as-prepared PPor-PEG NP not only exhibits a remarkable cell-killing ability but also achieves 100% tumor elimination, demonstrating its excellent photothermal therapeutic efficacy. Finally, the as-prepared water-dispersible PPor-PEG NPs show good biocompatibility and biosafety, making them a promising candidate for future clinical applications in cancer theranostics.
- D–A semiconducting polymer nanoparticles
- light-harvesting units
- photoacoustic imaging
- photothermal therapy