Light-responsible DNA hydrogel–gold nanoparticle assembly for synergistic cancer therapy†
Assembled AuNPs in a DNA hydrogel (Dgel) showed strongly coupled plasmon modes, and the Dgel vehicle can co-load anticancer drugs such as doxorubicin (Dox) as a light-controlled releasing cargo by DNA intercalations. Upon laser excitation, local heat shock generation was accompanied by the release of Dox. A highly synergistic combination of thermo- and chemotherapy was demonstrated in cellular and animal models. Our Dgel vehicle can be fragmented after the excitation-induced heat generations, which subsequently causes the dispersion of the AuNPs. Our system may be less toxic because it uses small sizes of AuNPs, and the inherently biocompatible scaffold may reduce the long-term toxicity by rapid clearance.