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DNA Aptamer-Collagen Composites to Create Biologically Functional Materials

Forms a Collagen Fiber Matrix Suitable for Numerous Biomedical Devices, Implants, and Cosmetic Applications

This injectable, self-assembled system mixes collagen and single-stranded DNA aptamers to form biologically functional materials. Many medical and cosmetic applications such as connective-tissue repair, drug delivery, gene delivery, wound healing, or skin care extensively use biocompatible collagen materials. Analysts project the collagen biomaterials market will exceed $5 billion by 2025. The collagen can be modified for physical and chemical properties in certain applications, but this usually involves chemicals that are cytotoxic and can cause calcification. Additionally, collagen materials often perform specific biological functions by incorporating additives, but these can cause damaging off-target effects.

Researchers at the University of Florida have developed an injectable, self-assembled system that uses DNA aptamers to stabilize collagen fibers in a 3D network mimicking the structure of native tissue. The choice of DNA aptamer can adjust fiber properties and drive the biological functions of collagen materials without side effect-causing additives.



Collagen materials enhanced without cytotoxic chemicals that achieve greater biological functionality to improve biomedical devices and cosmetic formulations



  • Assembles collagen into injectable, coatable bioactive fibers and gels using DNA strands, reducing toxicity of cosmetic or biomedical materials
  • Uses functional DNA aptamers, affording collagen materials innate application-specific biological activity without the use of additives
  • Adjusts collagen fiber properties through aptamer selection, promoting cell adhesion or binding affinity toward specific targets
  • Remains stable in both dry and aqueous conditions for extended periods


Short, single-stranded DNA aptamers bind to collagen proteins and act as 3D crosslinkers to promote fiber formation. Fibers begin to form spontaneously after combining DNA and collagen solutions. Different aptamer sequences, geometries, and concentrations result in different fiber properties, such as cellular affinity and biological activity. Because of DNA aptamers’ specificity, this facilitates the creation of collagen materials with greater biological functionality for applications in cosmetics and biomedicine.

Patent Information: