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Int J Biochem Mol Biol. 2013 Mar 31;4(1):27-40. Print 2013.

RNA aptamers and their therapeutic and diagnostic applications.

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  • 1Department of Cancer Biology, Vontz Center for Molecular Studies, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine OH 45267.


RNA Aptamers refer to RNA oligonulceotides that are capable of binding to specific targets with high affinity and specificity. Through a process called Systematic Evolution of Ligands by EXponential enrichment (SELEX), a number of RNA aptamers have been identified against various targets including organic compounds, nucleotides, proteins and even whole cells and organisms. RNA aptamers have proven to be of high therapeutic and diagnostic value with recent FDA approval of the first aptamer drug and additional ones in the clinical pipelines. It has also been found to be a particularly useful tool for cell-type specific delivery of other RNA therapeutics like siRNA. All these establish RNA aptamers as one of the pivotal tools of the emerging RNA nanotechnology field in the fight against human diseases including cancer, viral infections and other diseases. This article summarizes the current advancement in the identification of RNA aptamers and also provides some examples of their therapeutic and diagnostic applications.


RNA aptamer; RNA nanotechnology; RNA therapy; SELEX; drug delivery

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