Modular plasmonic nanocarriers for efficient and targeted delivery of cancer-therapeutic siRNA

Xiao Huang, Alessia Pallaoro, Gary B. Braun, Demosthenes P. Morales, Maria O. Ogunyankin, Joseph Zasadzinski, Norbert O. Reich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


We have combined a versatile and powerful route to deliver nucleic acids with peptide-based cell-specific targeting. siRNA targeting the polo-like kinase gene is in clinical trials for cancer treatment, and here we deliver this RNA selectively to cancer cells displaying the neuropilin-1 epitope using gold nanoshells. Release of the siRNA from the nanoparticles results from irradiation with a pulsed near-infrared laser, which also provides efficient endosomal escape within the cell. As a result, our approach requires 10-fold less material than standard nucleic acid transduction materials and is significantly more efficient than other particle-based methods. We also describe a particle-nucleic acid design that does not rely on modified RNA, thereby making the preparation of these materials more efficient and much less expensive. These improvements, when combined with control over when and where the siRNA is released, could provide the basis for diverse cell biological studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2046-2051
Number of pages6
JournalNano letters
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 9 2014


  • Hollow gold nanoshells
  • endosome escape
  • modular design
  • near-infrared laser
  • siRNA delivery
  • targeted


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