Can aptamers replace antibodies?
Almost all existing diagnostic kits are based on the use of an antibody for the target compound. A $17B industry has been built on this basis.
However, antibodies have their limitations:
- Antibodies will not detect small molecules unless the small molecule is conjugated to a larger molecule.
- Antibodies cannot be directly selected against very large targets like cells.
Aptamers represent an alternative basis for diagnosis that overcomes these limitations:
- Aptamers for diagnosis are short DNA molecules that mimic antibodies in their ability to bind with high affinity and specificity to target molecules. When you think about DNA, one generally thinks about the DNA in our cells that contain our genes. This DNA is long and double stranded, it takes two strands to make a ‘double’ helix. Aptamers are based on synthetic DNA (we synthesize them in a DNA synthesizer), and they are only a single strand. This leaves the nucleotides free to bind to the target molecule.
- We can select aptamers for any target from very small to very large because we do not rely on the immune systems of animals, we perform the selection in a laboratory.
NeoVentures has developed their patented FRELEX platform for the development of aptamers for small molecules, and their proprietary vector selection platform for the development of aptamers that either bind to targets on the surface of cells, or aptamers that enter specific cells.
To learn more about aptamers and how their use could help you expand your existing diagnostic and therapeutic platform portfolio please click on link below for a free consultation