Aptamers are small, single-stranded oligonucleotides (DNA or RNA) that bind to their target with high specificity and affinity. Although aptamers are analogous to antibodies for a wide range of target recognition and variety of applications, they have significant advantages over antibodies. Since aptamers have recently emerged as a class of biomolecules with an application in a wide array of fields, we need to summarize the latest developments herein. In this review we will discuss about the latest developments in using aptamers in diagnostics, drug delivery and imaging. We begin with diagnostics, discussing the application of aptamers for the detection of infective agents itself, antigens/toxins (bacteria), biomarkers (cancer), or a combination. The ease of conjugation and labelling of aptamers makes them a potential tool for diagnostics. Also, due to the reduced off-target effects of aptamers, their use as a potential drug delivery tool is emerging rapidly. Hence, we discuss their use in targeted delivery in conjugation with siRNAs, nanoparticles, liposomes, drugs and antibodies. Finally, we discuss about the conjugation strategies applicable for RNA and DNA aptamers for imaging. Their stability and self-assembly after heating makes them superior over protein-based binding molecules in terms of labelling and conjugation strategies.
Chandola, C., Kalme, S., Casteleijn, M. G., Urtti, A., & Neerathilingam, M. (2016). Application of aptamers in diagnostics, drug-delivery and imaging. Journal of Biosciences, 41(3), 535-561. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12038-016-9632-y