""These super-highways provide roads for cancer cells to travel out of tumours and spread more widely in the tissue, having potentially disastrous consequences for the patient," says Danielle Park, research scientist in the Crick's Tumour Cell Biology Laboratory. "By understanding more about how this type of structure is formed, we can then look at finding ways to stop it and impose a road block on the spread of cancer cells.""
"In the present work, Huo et al. were inspired by nature's ability to hybridize DNA by engineering DNA-mediated, self-assembled gold DNA nanostructures (approximating 200 nm). The sunflower-like design showed strong NIR absorption and photothermal conversion properties. Upon NIR irradiation, the structures disassembled to liberate ultra-small gold nanoparticles (2 nm, Au NPs) with potential for oncogene silencing, improved cell and nuclei permeability and enhanced transfection efficiency. The scientists synergistically controlled the cell-nanomaterial interactions based on the time of pre-incubation in the lab, followed by time of circulation in vivo and the timeline of irradiation. The experiments facilitated increased cellular uptake, tunable gene silencing efficacy and controlled tumor inhibition. The transformable nanosunflowers provided an excellent model to design nanovehicles for drug delivery with great potential in biomedicine."