Though aptamers were first discovered more than twenty years ago, development and application of aptamers was limited for many years by patents surrounding the aptamer selection process. With the expiration of key patents, aptamer research is expanding at an amazing rate. This research shows aptamers have unique properties which make them ideal for use in a wide range of applications.
The number of scientific publications involving aptamers is steadily increasing. Understanding what, exactly, an aptamer is and how it is developed is important to identifying novel, aptamer-based applications that can fill unmet needs and understanding some of the advantages to using aptamers in traditionally antibody-based applications.
Because aptamer synthesis and selection does not involve living cells or organisms, it is possible to select aptamers that specifically bind toxins, viruses, and pathogenic bacteria, like the Salmonella bacteria shown here. But this is just one reason to consider aptamers. The unique structure and characteristics of aptamers offer many other advantages.