Self-assembled, biodegradable materials that embed fragile, soluble, or insoluble compounds of therapeutic interest have potential use as drug delivery systems. The bead-forming peptide Ac-X3-gT can embed hydrophobic and hydrophilic payloads. Loaded peptide beads were internalized by human acute monocytic leukemia cell line (THP-1) macrophages, THP-1 monocytes, and hepatocellular carcinoma cells (Huh7). Furthermore, paclitaxel and doxorubicin coencapsulated in the peptide beads were delivered to THP-1 monocytes, causing a decrease in cell viability due to the activity of the anticancer drugs. In addition to the bead-forming peptide Ac-X3-gT, the use of a positively charged peptide analogue increased the RNA/DNA embedding efficiency to 99% by charge compensation and micellar complexation. Internalization of the resulting gene delivery systems by Huh7 cells led to specific gene silencing either by embedded small interfering RNA or by plasmid-encoding small hairpin RNA delivered in cells. The new class of purely peptidic material caused no measurable toxicity during in vitro experiments, thereby indicating potential use as a drug delivery system for multidrug delivery and gene therapy. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Biomed Mater Res Part A: 102A: 1155–1163, 2014.