How Does It Work? | Aptamers
Nucleic acids have long been regarded as biological compounds for storing and transferring information. However, their functionalities are far more diverse than this – ranging from gene regulation to enzymatic catalysis. One type of unconventional nucleic acid is the aptamer.
Aptamers are short, single stranded nucleic acids that fold into highly specific structures. They bind proteins or other biomolecular targets much like antibodies.
Aptamers are emerging as strong therapeutic candidates because unlike therapeutic antibodies, they can be chemically synthesized removing the need for complex biological systems. This gives greater control over the drug selection processes, and allows the targeting of molecules that are either toxic or non-immunogenic against biological systems.
The potential applications of aptamers are vast and include inhibition of disease-causing proteins delivering payloads to cells and as diagnostic tools, making them attractive candidates in our search for better medicines.