Self-assembled DNA nanostructures have emerged as a type of nano-biomaterials with precise structures, versatile functions and numerous applications. One particularly promising application of these DNA nanostructures is to develop universal nanocarriers for smart and targeted drug delivery. DNA is the genetic material in nature, and inherently biocompatible. Nevertheless, cell membranes are barely permeable to naked DNA molecules, either single- or double- stranded; transport across the cell membrane is only possible with the assistance of transfection agents. Interestingly, recent studies revealed that many DNA nanostructures could readily go into cells with high cell uptake efficiency. In this Progress Report, we will review recent advances on using various DNA nanostructures, e.g., DNA nanotubes, DNA tetrahedra, and DNA origami nanorobot, as drug delivery nanocarriers, and demonstrate several examples aiming at therapeutic applications with CpG-based immunostimulatory and siRNA-based gene silencing oligonucleotides.
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