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.

What is an Aptamer?

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.

Aptamer Advantages

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.

Aptamers vs. Antibodies

While antibodies and aptamers are similar in their ability to bind selective targets with high affinity, they have many differences. These differences affect development, potential targets, applications, performance and manufacturability.

5 Most Interesting Aptamer Selections

The aptamer discovery method enables selection of aptamers to some very unique targets in some very unique matrices. Read about five of the most interesting aptamer selections performed by Base Pair.

DNA Aptamers or RNA Aptamers?

DNA Aptamers or RNA Aptamers?

DNA aptamers and RNA aptamers each offer some unique advantages and disadvantages. Determining whether DNA or RNA is best for the application at hand is one of the first steps in any aptamer discovery project.

similar caffeine and theophylline structures

Importance of Negative Aptamer Selection

Negative selection is increasingly being used to improve aptamer affinity and generate aptamers that can differentiate between highly similar compounds. Negative selection is also being used to generate cell-specific aptamers in Cell-SELEX.

aptamer modifications

Enhancing Aptamer Stability

Aptamer stability is an important issue when selecting aptamers for serum-based diagnostics, in vivo imaging, and therapeutics.  There are several aptamer modifications that can be applied to improve aptamer stability and availability.