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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010 Jan 5;107(1):5-10. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0909611107. Epub 2009 Dec 22.

DNA aptamer-micelle as an efficient detection/delivery vehicle toward cancer cells.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry, Shands Cancer Center, Center for Research at Bio/Nano Interface, University of Florida Genetics Institute, and McKnight Brain Institute, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611-7200, USA.


We report the design of a self-assembled aptamer-micelle nanostructure that achieves selective and strong binding of otherwise low-affinity aptamers at physiological conditions. Specific recognition ability is directly built into the nanostructures. The attachment of a lipid tail onto the end of nucleic acid aptamers provides these unique nanostructures with an internalization pathway. Other merits include: extremely low off rate once bound with target cells, rapid recognition ability with enhanced sensitivity, low critical micelle concentration values, and dual-drug delivery pathways. To prove the potential detection/delivery application of this aptamer-micelle in biological living systems, we mimicked a tumor site in the blood stream by immobilizing tumor cells onto the surface of a flow channel device. Flushing the aptamer-micelles through the channel demonstrated their selective recognition ability under flow circulation in human whole-blood sample. The aptamer-micelles show great dynamic specificity in flow channel systems that mimic drug delivery in the blood system. Therefore, our DNA aptamer-micelle assembly has shown high potential for cancer cell recognition and for in vivo drug delivery applications.

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