Photodynamic therapy (PDT) has been developed as an alternative modality
for the management of neoplastic and nonneoplastic diseases. It is a minimally invasive
treatment that involves the interaction of a non-toxic photosensitizer (PS), light and molecular
oxygen to generate reactive oxygen species (ROS), resulting in the destruction of
unwanted cells and tissues. Discovery and development of new PSs with optimized properties
are much crucial for achieving a desirable therapeutic efficacy. This review describes
the photochemical and photobiological mechanisms of PDT, and outlines the recent
progress in discovery and development of natural products and their derivatives as
phototherapeutic drugs. The potential limitations and future perspectives of PDT in clinical
application are also presented and discussed.
Keywords: Photodynamic therapy, photosensitizer, natural product, drug discovery, anticancer, ROS.
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