Photon-Controlled Pyroptosis Activation (PhotoPyro): An Emerging Trigger for Antitumor Immune Response

Mingle Li, Jungryun Kim, Hyeonji Rha, Subin Son, Matthew S. Levine, Yunjie Xu, Jonathan L. Sessler, Jong Seung Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Pyroptosis refers to the process of gasdermin-mediated lytic programmed cell death (PCD) characterized by the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Our knowledge of pyroptosis has expanded beyond the cellular level and now includes extracellular responses. In recent years, pyroptosis has attracted considerable attention due to its potential to induce host immunity. For instance, at the 2022 International Medicinal Chemistry of Natural Active Ligand Metal-Based Drugs (MCNALMD) conference, numerous researchers demonstrated an interest in photon-controlled pyroptosis activation (“PhotoPyro”), an emerging pyroptosis-engineered approach for activating systemic immunity via photoirradiation. Given this enthusiasm, we share in this Perspective our views on this emerging area and expound on how and why “PhotoPyro” could trigger antitumor immunity (i.e., turning so-called “cold” tumors “hot”). In doing so, we have tried to highlight cutting-edge breakthroughs in PhotoPyro while suggesting areas for future contributions. By providing insights into the current state of the art and serving as a resource for individuals interested in working in this area, it is hoped that this Perspective will set the stage for PhotoPyro to evolve into a broadly applicable cancer treatment strategy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6007-6023
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Mar 22

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We gratefully acknowledge the financial support from the National Research Foundation of Korea (CRI project no. 2018R1A3B1052702, J.S.K). We also thank for the support of Brain Pool Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Science and ICT (Grant No. 2020H1D3A1A02080172, M.L.). The work in Austin was supported by the Robert A. Welch Foundation (F-0018 to J.L.S.) and, subsequent to June of 2022, the National Institutes of Health (CA68682 to J.L.S.).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 American Chemical Society.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • General Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Photon-Controlled Pyroptosis Activation (PhotoPyro): An Emerging Trigger for Antitumor Immune Response'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this