The treatment of malignant glioblastoma is a huge challenge due to the existence of the blood-brain barrier. Herein, we report the treatment of orthotopic malignant glioblastoma with imaging guided second near-infrared (NIR-II) photodynamic therapy and chemotherapy by using drug-loaded ultra-small Cu2-xSe theranostic nanoparticles (NPs). Ultra-small Cu2-xSe NPs possess a strong absorbance in the NIR-II window, and their absorption at 1064 nm is around 2 times that at 808 nm. Their strong NIR-II absorbance and the deeper-tissue penetration of NIR-II light ensure excellent photodynamic therapy performance under irradiation with a 1064 nm laser. We also demonstrate that ultra-small Cu2-xSe NPs can produce vast amounts of reactive oxygen species via electron transfer (for ˙OH generation) and energy transfer (for 1O2 generation) mechanisms under irradiation. In addition, these NPs can be effectively and locally transported into orthotopic malignant glioblastoma with the assistance of focused ultrasound. The deposited Cu2-xSe NPs can be used for photoacoustic imaging to guide the combined NIR-II photodynamic therapy and chemotherapy. The results show that the tumor growth can be significantly suppressed. This work demonstrates the great potential of drug-loaded ultra-small Cu2-xSe NPs as a promising therapeutic agent for the treatment of orthotopic malignant glioblastoma.

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