We recently asked which of the following applications cannot be done with aptamers? The results were overwhelmingly in favor of one choice:
We can go through each option to see how aptamers are indeed able to be used in diagnostics, therapeutics, and drug discovery but not time travel.
Diagnostics Applications for Aptamers
Although 9% of the responses thought that time travel was a more realistic application for aptamers over diagnostics, aptamers are increasingly being used as diagnostic tools due to their ability to specifically bind to target molecules. They can be used in various diagnostic assays, such as enzyme-linked aptamer assays (ELAAs), which are similar to ELISAs but use aptamers instead of antibodies. Aptamers can also be used in biosensors, which can detect target molecules in biological samples such as blood or urine. One example is the use of aptamers for the detection of cancer biomarkers, where aptamers are used to detect specific proteins or other biomolecules that are indicative of cancer.
Therapeutics Applications for Aptamers
Aptamers have the potential to be used as therapeutics due to their ability to specifically bind to target molecules, such as proteins or cell surface receptors. They can be used to inhibit the function of a target molecule, or to deliver drugs or other molecules to specific cells or tissues. One example is the use of aptamers as anticoagulants, where aptamers are designed to specifically bind to clotting factors and inhibit their function. Another example is the use of aptamers as targeted drug delivery vehicles, where aptamers are conjugated to drugs and specifically deliver them to cancer cells.
Aptamers for Drug Discovery
Aptamers can also be used in drug discovery as a tool to identify potential drug targets or to screen for drugs that can bind to specific targets. One example is the use of aptamers in high-throughput screening assays, where aptamers are screened against large libraries of compounds to identify molecules that bind to a specific target. Aptamers can also be used in target validation studies, where they can be used to confirm the role of a specific protein or target in a disease pathway.
Aptamers for Time Travel
Aptamers are very good at binding to specific targets, but they have not been able to bind to the flux capacitor! This makes them unable to be used in time travel.
In conclusion, aptamers have a wide range of applications in diagnostics, therapeutics, and drug discovery. Their high specificity and affinity for their target molecules make them a valuable tool in these fields, and they have the potential to revolutionize the way we diagnose and treat diseases. As aptamer technology continues to advance, we can expect to see even more exciting applications in the future.
Dr. Gregory Penner academic training was a blend of very practical plant breeding theory combined with molecular biology. He has used this blend of biology and mathematics to first develop and lead a cereal biotechnology research team with the government of Canada and subsequently as a global research leader with Monsanto Inc. He has been a thought leader in aptamer development globally for the last twenty years as CEO and President of NeoVentures. He has led this company to financial stability without outside investment with an integrated approach to aptamer discovery and commercialization. In 2015, he co- founded a second company, NeoNeuro in Paris France, focused on an innovative approach to identify Aptamarkers for complex diseases.