Our Researches focus on DNA nanotechnology, Supramolecular self-assembly, Exosome, and the Engineered Nanomaterials for biomedical applications, including:
1) Nucleoside analogue based nanomedicine
Based on the structural similarity, herein, nucleoside analogue therapeutics were integrated into DNA strands through conventional solid-phase synthesis. By elaborately designing their sequences, drug-integrated DNA strands were synthesized and self-assembled into well-defined DNA nanostructures with definite drug loading ratio as well as tunable size and morphology. As a novel drug delivery system, these drug-containing DNA nanostructures could ideally mimic the Trojan Horses to deliver chemotherapeutics into tumor cells and fight against cancer.
2) DNA nanostructure based biomacromolecule delivery system
In contrast to conventional cationic carrier based delivery strategies, functional nucleic acids are employed as cross-linkers to direct the self-assembly of DNA-polymer conjugates to form spherical and nanosized hydrogels via nucleic acid hybridization, in which the functional nucleic acids are fully embedded and protected for systemic delivery. Owing to the existence of multivalent mutual crosslinking events inside, the crosslinked nanogels with tunable size exhibit not only good thermostability, but also remarkable physiological stability that can resist the enzymatic degradation. As a novel delivery system with spherical nucleic acid (SNA) architecture, the crosslinked nanogels can assist the delivery the functional nucleic acids into different cells without any transfection agents and achieve the gene silencing effectively both in vitro and in vivo, through which a significant inhibition of tumor growth is realized in the anticancer treatment.
3) Exosome-based biodiagnosis and therapy
Exosomes are nano-sized vesicles (30–120 nm in size) produced by many cell types, which contain many endogenous and cell-specific RNAs and proteins. Therefore, quantification and analysis on contents of cell-specific exosomes can provide us useful information for diagnosis of diseases. On the other hand, accumulating attention has also been focused on harnessing exosomes as nanaocarriers for functional cargo delivery. Due to their natural role in shuttling endogenous nucleic acid in our body, exosomes may exhibit higher delivery efficiency, lower immunogenicity, and better compatibility than existing foreign drug carriers.