Phototheranostic DNA micelles from the self-assembly of DNA-BODIPY amphiphiles for the thermal ablation of cancer cells†
Design of phototheranostic agents in a single step approach is one of the challenges in cancer therapy. Herein, a one-step strategy based on amphiphilicity-driven self-assembly of DNA-BODIPY amphiphiles for the design of a new class of micelles, which offer all three phototheranostic functions, is reported. These include (i) strong emission at NIR (ϕf = 30%) for imaging, (ii) high photothermal conversion (η = 52%) for PTT and (iii) an ssDNA-based shell for the integration of cell targeting moieties. Selective uptake of DNA micelles into a target cancer cell and its killing by laser irradiation (635 nm) are also demonstrated. Furthermore, the excellent biocompatibility, ultrasmall nanosize and high stability of DNA micelles are promising for in vivo applications.