Optogenetic technologies in translational cancer research

Alexander Malogolovkin, Alexander D. Egorov, Alexander Karabelsky, Roman A. Ivanov, Vladislav V. Verkhusha

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Gene and cell therapies are widely recognized as future cancer therapeutics but poor controllability limits their clinical applications. Optogenetics, the use of light-controlled proteins to precisely spatiotemporally regulate the activity of genes and cells, opens up new possibilities for cancer treatment. Light of specific wavelength can activate the immune response, oncolytic activity and modulate cell signaling in tumor cells non-invasively, in dosed manner, with tissue confined action and without side effects of conventional therapies. Here, we review optogenetic approaches in cancer research, their clinical potential and challenges of incorporating optogenetics in cancer therapy. We critically discuss beneficial combinations of optogenetic technologies with therapeutic nanobodies, T-cell activation and CAR-T cell approaches, genome editors and oncolytic viruses. We consider viral vectors and nanoparticles for delivering optogenetic payloads and activating light to tumors. Finally, we highlight herein the prospects for integrating optogenetics into immunotherapy as a novel, fast, reversible and safe approach to cancer treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number108005
JournalBiotechnology Advances
StatePublished - Nov 2022


  • CAR-T
  • Immunotherapy
  • Oncolytics
  • Optobodies
  • Tumor
  • Viral vector

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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