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Nucleic acid aptamers are nucleic acid species that have been engineered through repeated rounds of in vitro selection or equivalently, SELEX (systematic evolution of ligands by exponential enrichment) to bind to various molecular targets such as small molecules, proteins, nucleic acids, and even cells, tissues and organisms. Aptamers are useful in biotechnological and therapeutic applications as they offer molecular recognition properties that rival that of the commonly used biomolecule, antibodies. In addition to their discriminate recognition, aptamers offer advantages over antibodies as they can be engineered completely in a test tube, are readily produced by chemical synthesis, possess desirable storage properties, and elicit little or no immunogenicity in therapeutic applications. Non-modified aptamers are cleared rapidly from the bloodstream, with a half-life of minutes to hours, mainly due to nuclease degradation and clearance from the body by the kidneys, a result of the aptamer's inherently low molecular weight. Unmodified aptamer applications currently focus on treating transient conditions such as blood clotting, or treating organs such as the eye where local delivery is possible. This rapid clearance can be an advantage in applications such as in vivo diagnostic imaging. An example is a tenascin-binding aptamer under development by Schering AG for cancer imaging. Several modifications, such as 2'-fluorine-substituted pyrimidines, polyethylene glycol (PEG) linkage, etc. (both of which are used in Macugen, an FDA-approved aptamer) are available to scientists with which to increase the serum half-life of aptamers easily to the day or even week time scale.
OMICSGroup OMICS Group International is an amalgamation of Open Access publications and worldwide international science conferences and events. Established in the year 2007 with the sole aim of making the information on Sciences and technology ‘Open Access’, OMICS Group publishes 400 online open access journals in all aspects of Science, Engineering, Management and Technology journals. OMICS Group has been instrumental in taking the knowledge on Science & technology to the doorsteps of ordinary men and women. Research Scholars, Students, Libraries, Educational Institutions, Research centers and the industry are main stakeholders that benefitted greatly from this knowledge dissemination. OMICS Group also organizes 300 International Conferences annually across the globe, where knowledge transfer takes place through debates, round table discussions, poster presentations, workshops, symposia and exhibitions. Moreover, OMICS Group is featured with 30,000 editorial board members, 35,000 reviewer, 1000 international associations and 3 million readers. Societies International Society on Aptamers (INSOAP)
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