Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a promising modality for the treatment of solid tumors that combines a photosensitizing agent and light to produce cytotoxic reactive oxygen species that lead to tumor cell death. The recent introduction of bioluminescence imaging (BLI), involving the use of the luciferase gene (luc) transferred into target tumor cells, followed by systemic administration of luciferin and detection of the emitted visible chemiluminescence photons, offers the potential for longitudinal imaging of tumor growth and therapeutic response in single animals. We demonstrate in this study the first results of the use of BLI to assess the response of an intracranial brain tumor model (9L rat gliosarcoma) to aminolevulinic acid (ALA)–mediated PDT. Complementary in vitro experiments with the luciferase-transfected 9L cells show that the decrease in the luminescent signal after PDT correlates with cell kill. In vivo imaging shows a decrease in the BLI signal from the tumor after ALA-PDT treatment, followed by tumor regrowth. Furthermore, preliminary studies using cells transfected with a hypoxia-responsive vector show an increase in bioluminescence within 4 h after Photofrin-mediated PDT, demonstrating the ability to observe stress-gene responses. These results suggest that BLI can be used to provide spatiotemporal information of intracranial brain tumor responses after PDT and may serve as a valuable response-endpoint measure.
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Vol. 80 • No. 2