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Platforms for targeted drug-delivery must simultaneously exhibit serum stability, efficient directed cell internalization, and triggered drug release. Here, using lipid-mediated self-assembly of aptamers, we combine multiple structural motifs into a single nanoconstruct that targets hepatocyte growth factor receptor (cMet). The nanocarrier consists of lipidated versions of a cMet-binding aptamer and a separate lipidated GC-rich DNA hairpin motif loaded with intercalated doxorubicin. Multiple 2′,6′-dimethylazobenzene moieties are incorporated into the doxorubicin-binding motif to trigger the release of the chemotherapeutics by photoisomerization. The lipidated DNA scaffolds self-assemble into spherical hybrid-nanoconstructs that specifically bind cMet. The combined features of the nanocarriers increase serum nuclease resistance, favor their import into cells presumably mediated by endocytosis, and allow selective photo-release of the chemotherapeutic into the targeted cells. cMet-expressing H1838 tumor cells specifically internalize drug-loaded nanoconstructs, and subsequent UV exposure enhances cell mortality. This modular approach thus paves the way for novel classes of powerful aptamer-based therapeutics.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.