Tumor cell-specific photothermal killing by SELEX-derived DNA aptamer-targeted gold nanorods

Ramya Chandrasekaran, Alexander Sheng Wei Lee, Lim Wei Yap, David A. Jans, Kylie M. Wagstaff, Wenlong Cheng

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27 Citations (Scopus)


Despite widespread availability of cytotoxic chemotherapeutic agents, the killing of tumour cells without affecting healthy surrounding tissue remains elusive, although recent developments in terms of plasmonic nanoparticles capable of photothermal killing have some promise. Here we describe novel DNA aptamer-tethered gold nanorods (GNRs) that act as efficient photothermal therapeutics against tumour cells, but not their isogenic normal cell counterparts. A modified Cell-SELEX process was developed to select a novel DNA aptamer (KW16-13) that specifically recognised and was internalised by cells of the MCF10CA1h human breast ductal carcinoma line but not by those of its isogenic normal counterpart (MCF10A). GNRs conjugated to KW16-13 were readily internalized by the MCF10CA1h tumour cells with minimal uptake by MCF10A normal cells. Upon near infrared (NIR) light irradiation, tumour cell death of >96%, could be effected, compared to 71-fold tumor cell death than GNRs-targeted with a previously described aptamer. This demonstrates the significant potential for aptamer functionalised-GNRs to be used effective and above all selective anti-cancer photothermal therapeutics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187-196
Number of pages10
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jan 2016

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