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    Stimuli-responsive DNA-based nanostructures have emerged as promising vehicles for intelligent drug delivery. In this study, i-motif DNA-conjugated gold nanostars (GNSs) were fabricated in a facile manner as stimuli-responsive drug delivery systems (denoted as A-GNS/DNA/DOX) for the treatment of cancer via combined chemo-photothermal therapy. The i-motif DNA is sensitive to the environmental pH and can switch from a single-stranded structure to a C-tetrad (i-motif) structure as the environmental pH decreases from neutral (∼7.4) to acidic (<6.0). The loaded drug can then be released along with the conformational changes. To enhance cellular uptake and improve cancer cell selectivity, the aptamer AS1411, which recognizes nucleolins, was employed as a targeting moiety. The A-GNS/DNA/DOX nanocomposites were found to be highly capable of photothermal conversion and exhibited photostability under near-infrared (NIR) irradiation, and the pH and NIR irradiation effectively triggered the drug-release behaviors. In addition, the A-GNS/DNA/DOX nanocomposites exhibited good biocompatibility. The targeting recognition enabled the A-GNS/DNA/DOX to exhibit higher cellular uptake and therapeutic efficiency than the GNS/DNA/DOX. Notably, under NIR irradiation, a synergistic effect between chemotherapy and photothermal therapy can be achieved with the proposed delivery system, which exhibits much higher therapeutic efficiency both in monolayer cancer cells and tumor spheroids as compared with a single therapeutic method. This study highlights the potential of GNS/DNA nanoassemblies for intelligent anticancer drug delivery and combined cancer therapy.


    Dandan Miao, Yanyan Yu, Yong Chen, Yin Liu, Gaoxing Su. Facile Construction of i-Motif DNA-Conjugated Gold Nanostars as Near-Infrared and pH Dual-Responsive Targeted Drug Delivery Systems for Combined Cancer Therapy. Molecular pharmaceutics. 2020 Apr 06;17(4):1127-1138

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    PMID: 32092274

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