A variety of bioinspired materials have been successfully synthesized to mimic the sophisticated structures or functions of biological systems. However, it is still challenging to develop materials with multiple functions that can be performed synergistically or sequentially. The purpose of this work was to demonstrate a novel bioinspired hydrogel that can interact with cancer cells, functionally similar to Drosera in catching and killing prey. This hydrogel had two layers with the top one functionalized with oligonucleotide aptamers and the bottom one functionalized with double-stranded DNA. The results show that the top hydrogel layer was able to catch target cells with high efficiency and specificity, and that the bottom hydrogel layer could sequester doxorubicin (Dox) for sustained drug release. Importantly, the released Dox could kill 90% of the cells after 1-h residence of the cells on the hydrogel. After the cell release, this bifunctional hydrogel could be regenerated for continuous cell catching and killing. Therefore, the data presented in this study has successfully demonstrated the potential of developing a material system with the functions of attracting, catching and killing diseased cells (e.g., circulating tumor cells) or even invading microorganisms (e.g., bacteria).
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