Aptamers refer to short strands of nucleic acids or peptide molecules capable of forming secondary and tertiary structures. These molecules bind specifically to the cellular targets and are created by selecting randomly from the complex libraries of synthetic nucleic acids. These receptor molecules can be modified in order to enhance the stability and availability in biological environments. Aptamers possess potential applications in research, clinical, industrial and medical areas. Since the 1990s, aptamers have been tested for their clinical relevance.
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Aptamers are chemically equivalent to protein therapeutics and are highly specific, non-immunogenic and small in size. Despite of its advantages over protein therapeutics, aptamers are not able to establish their strong presence in the market. According to a research study published in 2010, till date only one aptamer based drug has received regulatory approval. The first aptamer based therapeutic was indicated for the treatment of age related macular degeneration and was FDA approved in the year 2004. At present many other aptamer molecules are being evaluated in clinical trials.
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Emergence of aptamer molecules in various diagnostic and therapeutic applications holds immense growth prospects in the near future. With the development of systematic evolution of ligands by exponential enrichment (SELEX) process, aptamers are replacing antibodies in both diagnostic and therapeutic applications. Aptamers market can be categorized on the basis of product type, applications and geographies. The application areas of aptamers include diagnostics, biosensors, drug discovery, bio-markers, therapeutics and others.
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