Aptamer-conjugated, fluorescent gold nanorods as potential cancer theradiagnostic agents

Maria Elena Gallina, Yu Zhou, Christopher J Johnson, David Harris-Birtill, Mohan Singh, Hailin Zhao, Daqing Ma, Tony Cass, Daniel S Elson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)
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GNRs are emerging as a new class of probes for theradiagnostic applications thanks to their unique optical properties. However, the achievement of proper nanoconstructs requires the synthesis of highly pure GNRs with well-defined aspect ratio (AR), in addition to extensive surface chemistry modification to provide them with active targeting and, possibly, multifunctionality.

In this work, we refined the method of the seed mediated growth and developed a robust procedure for the fabrication of GNRs with specific AR. We also revealed and characterized unexplored aging phenomena that follow the synthesis and consistently alter GNRs' final AR. Such advances appreciably improved the feasibility of GNRs fabrication and offered useful insights on the growth mechanism.

We next produced fluorescent, biocompatible, aptamer-conjugated GNRs by performing ligand exchange followed by bioconjugation to anti-cancer oligonucleotide AS1411. In vitro studies showed that our nanoconstructs selectively target cancer cells while showing negligible cytotoxicity. As a result, our aptamer-conjugated GNRs constitute ideal cancer-selective multifunctional probes and promising candidates as photothermal therapy agents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)324-332
Number of pages9
JournalMaterials Science and Engineering: B
Early online date3 Oct 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2016


  • Aptamers
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Gold
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Nanotubes
  • Neoplasms
  • Phototherapy
  • Nucleotide


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