In situ self-assembling Au-DNA complexes for targeted cancer bioimaging and inhibition

Maonan Wang, Yun Chen, Weijuan Cai, Huan Feng, Tianyu Du, Weiwei Liu, Hui Jiang, Alberto Pasquarelli, Yossi Weizmann, Xuemei Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cancer remains one of the most challenging diseases to treat. For accurate cancer diagnosis and targeted therapy, it is important to assess the localization of the affected area of cancers. The general approaches for cancer diagnostics include pathological assessments and imaging. However, these methods only generally assess the tumor area. In this study, by taking advantage of the unique microenvironment of cancers, we effectively utilize in situ self-assembled biosynthetic fluorescent gold nanocluster-DNA (GNC-DNA) complexes to facilitate safe and targeted cancer theranostics. In in vitro and in vivo tumor models, our self-assembling biosynthetic approach allowed for precise bioimaging and inhibited cancer growth after one injection of DNA and gold precursors. These results demonstrate that in situ bioresponsive self-assembling GNC-PTEN (phosphatase and tensin homolog) complexes could be an effective noninvasive technique for accurate cancer bioimaging and treatment, thus providing a safe and promising cancer theranostics platform for cancer therapy.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)308-316
Number of pages9
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number1
StatePublished - 7 Jan 2020


  • Biosynthetic complexes
  • Cancer bioimaging and inhibition
  • Self-assembling GNC-DNA complexes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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