The active targeting of drugs in a cell-, tissue- or disease-specific manner represents a potentially powerful technology with widespread applications in medicine, including the treatment of cancers. Aptamers have properties such as high affinity and specificity for targets, easy chemical synthesis and modification, and rapid tissue penetration. They have become attractive molecules in diagnostics and therapeutics rivaling and, in some cases, surpassing other molecular probes, such as antibodies. In this review, we highlight the recent progress in aptamer-mediated delivery for therapeutics and disease-targeting based on aptamer integration with a variety of nanomaterials, such as gold nanorods, DNA micelles, DNA hydrogels and carbon nanotubes.
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