Several types of nanocarriers, most of which show significant cytotoxicity, have been developed to overcome the problem of gene-delivery barriers. Biocompatibility, low toxicity and water solubility of carbon nanodots (CNDs) are major advantages that recommend them as delivery systems. Materials & methods: We present a simple method to produce positively charged CNDs. Ethanolamine, ethylenediamine and hydrogen peroxide were utilized to synthesize these CNDs. Results & conclusion: Our results indicated that delivery of the CND-siGFP complex led to significant switching-off of the fluorescence of the GFP-expressing A549 cell. Next, the A549 cells were transfected with siRNA against BiP, which is a pivotal protein in the chemotherapy resistance of cancer cells. The expression levels of BiP decreased remarkably.