Combined Therapy


Currently, various therapies have been developed in the treatment of tumour and diseases such as chemotherapy, surgical therapy, radiotherapy, as well as some emerging therapies like gene therapy, photodynamic therapy (PDT) and photothermal therapy (PTT). However, due to the heterogeneity and complexity of the tumor, monotherapy has many limitations that make it difficult to eradicate the tumor tissue. Combined therapy can effectively overcome the shortcomings of monotherapy and further improve the therapeutic effect, which can lead to more effective measures in tumour treatment.

Combined Therapy

Application of MOFs in Combined Therapy

Owing to their porous nature, MOFs offer the potential of multiple bioactive molecule encapsulation to realize combined therapeutic activity. For instance, researchers have been creative in combining PDT-active MOFs with other therapeutic methods such as chemotherapy, photothermal therapy, immunotherapy, gene therapy (GT), chemical dynamic therapy (CDT), gas therapy and others to realize more advanced synergistic therapy. Thereinto, as PDT and PTT can be simultaneously triggered by light irradiation, combining PDT and PTT in one therapeutic system is a most promising way. There are two paths in combination of PDT and PTT based on MOFs, one is incorporating both photothermal and photodynamic ability in one MOF without further modification, also known as 'all-in-one' strategy, another is synthesize MOF-based composites with other PDT and PTT materials.

Application of COFs in Combined Therapy

Combination of PDT and PTT is the most widespread and common method that using COFs for cancer combination therapy. Versatile functional groups or bonding defects on the networks and large internal channels make COFs suitable carriers for encapsulating molecular photosensitizers and photothermal agents through chemical functionalization or host−guest encapsulation strategy to achieve “all-in-one” nanosystems for synergistic PDT/PTT treatment. In 2019, Chen et al. synthesized TP-Por COF materials via condensation between 5,15-bis(4-boronophenyl)porphyrin and 2,3,6,7,10,11-hexahydroxytriphenylene, then the ultrasonic exfoliation was performed to generate 2D covalent organic nanosheets, which were used to treat HeLa tumor-bearing mice through intravenous injection via combined PDT and PTT under 635 nm irradiation, showing the good therapeutic effects[1] (as shown in Fig.1).

Combined TherapyFig.1 Schematic diagram of TP-Por COF in combined therapy of HeLa tumor-bearing mice

Advantages of Combining PDT with PTT

Combination of PDT and PTT may show good synergistic effect, the details are as follows:

Combined Therapy On the one hand, the heat generated by PTT which can not only improve the blood flow and consequently increase the ambient O2 content to alleviate hypoxia in PDT, but also enhances the sensitivity of tumor cells to oxygen-dependent PDT, further improving the therapeutic effect. On the other hand, PDT can significantly interfere with tumor physiology and disturb the microenvironmental conditions and thus increase the heat sensitivity of the cancer cells, which also improving the therapeutic effect of PTT.

What Can Alfa Chemistry Do

MOFs and COFs produced by Alfa Chemistry show good synergistic effect when combined with different therapeutic methods such as chemotherapy, photodynamic therapy (PDT), photothermal therapy (PTT), immunotherapy, gene therapy (GT), chemical dynamic therapy (CDT), gas therapy and others. Our professional technology team also provides customers with specialized MOFs and COFs design and customization services, no matter what design ideas you have, we will implement them together with you. In addition, we are committed to supporting customers a series of solutions in combined therapy using MOFs or COFs. Please contact us immediately to order or cooperate in research and development with high quality and reasonable price.


  1. Wang k.; et al. Cyanine-assisted exfoliation of covalent organic frameworks in nanocomposites for highly efficient chemo-photothermal tumor therapy[J]. ACS Applied Polymer Materials, 2019, 11, 39503-39512.

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