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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 540451, 13 pages
Review Article

Nucleic Acid Aptamers: Research Tools in Disease Diagnostics and Therapeutics

Applied Molecular Biology Laboratory, School of Life Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi 110067, India

Received 29 January 2014; Accepted 18 March 2014; Published 22 June 2014

Academic Editor: Gary S. Stein

Copyright © 2014 Baby Santosh and Pramod K. Yadava. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Aptamers are short sequences of nucleic acid (DNA or RNA) or peptide molecules which adopt a conformation and bind cognate ligands with high affinity and specificity in a manner akin to antibody-antigen interactions. It has been globally acknowledged that aptamers promise a plethora of diagnostic and therapeutic applications. Although use of nucleic acid aptamers as targeted therapeutics or mediators of targeted drug delivery is a relatively new avenue of research, one aptamer-based drug “Macugen” is FDA approved and a series of aptamer-based drugs are in clinical pipelines. The present review discusses the aspects of design, unique properties, applications, and development of different aptamers to aid in cancer diagnosis, prevention, and/or treatment under defined conditions.