Bin Chen, PhD

Bin Chen

Bin Chen PhD

Director, Graduate Program in Pharmacology/Toxicology

McNeil Research Professor
Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences


BS (Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine)

MS (Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine)

PhD (University of Leuven, Belgium)

Research Interests

Mechanisms and therapeutic enhancement of photodynamic therapy.

Aminolevulinic acid-mediated protoporphyin IX for tumor detection and treatment.


Our research focuses on understanding the mechanism of anticancer agents and designing mechanism-based approaches for therapeutic enhancement. We are particularly interested in studying the mechanism of photosensitizing agents, which generate therapeutic effects through the production of reactive oxygen species upon laser light activation. This light-based therapy termed photodynamic therapy (PDT) has been approved for cancer treatment in the clinic. Our current research aims to identify important cell signaling pathways and molecular targets that determine the response of vascular-targeted PDT and pharmacologically modulate these molecular targets for therapeutic enhancement. Another research interest in the lab is on the abnormal porphyrin metabolism in tumors. Some tumors have been known to accumulate more porphyrin metabolites particularly protoporphyin IX than normal tissues. Abnormal porphyrin metabolism in tumors has led to the use of porphyrin precursor aminolevulinic acid (ALA) for tumor detection, fluorescence-guided resection and PDT treatment. We are investigating why tumor cells exhibit enhanced porphyrin accumulation and how this altered porphyrin metabolism can be better used for tumor detection and treatment.

Selected Scholarly Activity

Howley R, Mansi M, Shinde J, Restrepo J, Chen B. Evaluation of aminolevulinic acid-mediated protoporphyrin IX fluorescence and enhancement by ABCG2 inhibitors in renal cell carcinoma cells. J Photochem Photobiol B. 2020, 211: 112017.

Palasuberniam P, Kraus D, Mansi M, Braun A, Howley R, Myers K, Chen B. Ferrochelatase deficiency abrogated the enhancement of aminolevulinic acid-mediated protoporphyrin IX by iron chelator deferoxamine. Photochem Photobiol. 2019, 95: 1052-1059.

Kraus D, Palasuberniam P, Chen B. Targeting phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase signaling pathway for therapeutic enhancement of vascular-targeted photodynamic therapy. Mol Cancer Ther. 2017, 16: 2422-31.

Yang X, Palasuberniam P, Myers K, Wang C, Chen B. Her2 oncogene transformation enhances 5-aminolevulinic acid-mediated protoporphyrin IX production and photodynamic therapy response. Oncotarget. 2016, 7: 57798-57810.

Palasuberniam P, Yang X, Kraus D, Jones P, Myers K, Wang C, Chen B. ABCG2 transporter inhibitor restores the sensitivity of triple negative breast cancer cells to aminolevulinic acid-mediated photodynamic therapy. Sci Rep. 2015, 5: 13298.

Yang X, Li W, Palasuberniam P, Myers K, Wang C, Chen B. Effects of silencing heme biosynthesis enzymes on 5-aminolevulinic acid-mediated protoporphyrin ix fluorescence and photodynamic therapy. Photochem Photobiol. 2015, 91: 923-30.

Fateye B, Wan A, Yang X, Myers K, Chen B. Comparison between endothelial and tumor cells in the response to verteporfin-photodynamic therapy and a PI3K pathway inhibitor. Photodiagn Photodyn Ther. 2015, 12: 19-26.

Li Z, Agharkar P, Chen B. Therapeutic enhancement of vascular-targeted photodynamic therapy by inhibiting proteasomal function. Cancer Lett. 2013, 339: 128-134.

Chen B, Crane C, He C, Gondek D, Agharkar P, Savellano M, Hoopes PJ, Pogue BW. Disparity in vascular response to verteporfin-mediated vascular-targeting therapy between prostate tumor interior versus peripheral vasculature. Int J Cancer. 2008, 123: 695-701.

He C, Agharkar P, Chen B. Intravital microscopic analysis of vascular perfusion and macromolecule extravasation after verteporfin-mediated photodynamic therapy. Pharm Res. 2008, 25: 1873-80.

Chen B, Pogue BW, Luna J, Hardman R, Hoopes PJ, Hasan T. Tumor vascular permeabilization by vascular-targeting photosensitization: effects, mechanism and therapeutic implications. Clin Cancer Res. 2006, 10: 917-23.

Chen B, Pogue BW, Hoopes PJ, Hasan T. Combining vascular and cellular targeting regimens enhances the therapeutic effect of photodynamic therapy. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2005, 61: 1216-26.

Chen B, Pogue BW, Goodwin IA, O’Hara JA, Wilmot CM, Hutchins JE, Hoopes PJ, Hasan T. Blood flow dynamics following photodynamic therapy with verteporfin in the RIF-1 tumor. Radiat Res. 2003, 160: 452-459.

Pogue BW, O'Hara JA, Demidenko E, Wilmot CM, Goodwin IA, Chen B, Swartz HM, Hasan T. Photodynamic therapy with verteporfin in the radiation-induced fibrosarcoma-1 tumor causes enhanced radiation sensitivity. Cancer Res. 2003, 63: 1025-33.

Chen B, Roskams T, Xu Y, Agostinis P, De Witte P. Photodynamic therapy with hypericin induces vascular damage and apoptosis in the RIF-1 mouse tumor model. Int J Cancer. 2002, 98: 284-90.

Contact Information

Office location: Pharmacology/Toxicology Center Room 244
Mailing address: Box 80
University of Sciences
600 South 43rd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-4495
Office Phone: 215-596-7481

b [dot] chen [at] usciences [dot] edu