Phototherapy dates back to ancient times, nearly 3000 years ago, in 1903, Niels Ryberg Finsen was awarded the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for using short wavelength light to treat lupus vulgaris, which was the beginning of modern phototherapy. Today, phototherapy is widely used to treat various diseases, such as atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, vitiligo, acne vulgaris and cancer, especially in the treatment of cancer, attracting widespread concern. Because current cancer therapies mainly include surgery, chemotherapies, and radiotherapies, while surgery cannot completely remove cancer cells, chemotherapies and radiotherapies will damage normal cells and are limited specificities to cancer cells, causing strong side effects. Phototherapy is an emerging antibiotic-free strategy to treat cancer, which could significantly reduce the systemic toxicity associated with traditional chemo-or radio-therapeutic approaches. However, due to the poor tissue penetration of light, pure phototherapy can only be used for superficial treatment. To enhance phototherapy, photosensitizers (PSs) are typically used to sensitize singlet oxygen generation in phototherapy. Light of a specific wavelength is used to activate PSs to improve the therapeutic effects of phototherapy.


Application of MOFs and COFs in Phototherapy

So far, many photosensitizers have been developed. Among them, the metal-organic framework (MOFs) and covalent-organic framework (COFs) are becoming one of the most promising photo-responsive materials because its structure and chemical compositions can be easily modulated to achieve specific functions. MOFs and COFs can have intrinsic photodynamic or photothermal ability under the rational design their construction, owing to its tunable porosity. They also provide feasibility for various combined therapies and targeting methods, which improves the efficiency of phototherapy. In addition to, the π−π stacking interaction in COFs structural further promotes its photoelectric performance when used in phototherapy. To date, numerous MOFs and COFs have been applied in phototherapy. Take MOFs as an example, the study of MOFs in phototherapy shows a rapidly growing tendency in recent years[1] (as shown in Fig. 1).

PhototherapyFig.1 The number of publications in the last decade that focused on the topic of phototherapy by using a MOFs

Alfa Chemistry can provide the high-quality MOFs and COFs which can be mainly used in the following fields of phototherapy:


Photodynamic Therapy

Photodynamic therapy has many advantages, such as high selectivity, good applicability, low toxicity, minimally invasive, etc., and has been widely used in the treatment of cancer and tumor. Alfa Chemistry provides a series of MOFs and COFs for use in the photodynamic therapy.

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Photothermal Therapy

Photothermal therapy is a treatment method that materials with high photothermal conversion efficiency to convert light energy into heat energy to kill cancer cells under the irradiation of external light source. Alfa Chemistry provides a series of MOFs and COFs for use in the photothermal therapy.

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Combined Therapy

Combined therapy can combine the advantages of various methods such as chemotherapy, photodynamic therapy and photothermal therapy, then producing good curative effect. The MOFs and COFs produced by Alfa Chemistry have good synergistic effect.

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What Can Alfa Chemistry Do

Alfa Chemistry provides a series of high-quality MOFs and COFs with excellent phototherapy effect and our technology team that can also provide customers with professional MOFs and COFs design and customization services. No matter what design ideas you have, we will implement them together with you. In addition, Alfa Chemistry is committed to supporting customers a series of solutions in phototherapy fields by using MOFs and COFs. Please contact us immediately to order or cooperate in research and development with high quality and reasonable price.


  1. Zheng Q.; et al. The recent progress on metal-organic frameworks for phototherapy[J]. Chemical Society Reviews, 2021, 50, 5086-5125.

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