Int J Biochem Mol Biol 2013;4(1):27-40

Review Article
RNA aptamers and their therapeutic and diagnostic applications

Katherine Germer, Marissa Leonard, Xiaoting Zhang

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

Received December 20, 2012; Accepted February 15, 2013; Epub March 31, 2013; Published April 15, 2013

Abstract: 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. (IJBMB1212003).

Keywords: RNA nanotechnology, RNA aptamer, SELEX, RNA therapy, drug delivery

Address correspondence to: Dr. Xiaoting Zhang, Department of Cancer Biology, 3125 Eden Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45267. Phone:
513-558-3017; Fax: 513-558-4454; E-mail: