Aptamer-based selective KB cell killing by the photothermal effect of gold nanorods

  • Yuseon Noh
  • Min-Jin Kim
  • Hyoyoung Mun
  • Eun-Jung Jo
  • Hoyeon Lee
  • Min-Gon KimEmail author
Research Paper


Development of both specific receptors against target cancer cells and therapeutic tools using receptor-functionalized nanoplatforms are important in cancer treatment. To address these challenges, we developed KB cell–specific aptamers using systematic evolution of ligands by exponential enrichment (SELEX). Additionally, we combined the targeting properties of aptamers and photothermal characteristics of GNRs. As a result, we generated efficient aptamer-gold nanorods (Apt-GNRs) targeting KB cancer cells and exhibiting photothermal therapeutic effects. When the samples were irradiated with a light-emitting diode at 845 nm, the targeted KB cells showed ~ 80% cell death compared with the unirradiated and aptamer-free control. Based on the low toxicity, biocompatibility, and selectivity of Apt-GNRs, the proposed nanoplatform has significant potential as a cancer therapy in vivo.


Systematic evolution of ligands by exponential enrichment KB cancer cells Aptamers Gold nanorods Photothermal killing Nanomedicine 


Funding information

This work was financially supported by grants from the Global Research Lab (GRL) Program [NRF-2013K1A1A2A02050616] and the Mid-career Researcher Program [NRF-2017R1A2B3010816] through a National Research Foundation grant funded by the Ministry of Science, ICT, and Future Planning.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

11051_2019_4561_MOESM1_ESM.docx (1.5 mb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 1532 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Chemistry, School of Physics and ChemistryGwangju Institute of Science and Technology (GIST)GwangjuRepublic of Korea

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