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Aptamer-based Technology for Medical Diagnostic and Therapeutic Applications

Overview

Aptamers are short RNA or single-stranded DNA molecules that can fold into unique three-dimensional conformations. Then aptamers bind to their targets (e.g. specific type of cells or proteins) with high binding specificity and affinity. Therefore, they are promising agents in both diagnostic and therapeutic applications.

  • Aptamer-based Technology for Medical Diagnostic and Therapeutic Applications 0
  • Aptamer-based Technology for Medical Diagnostic and Therapeutic Applications 1
Commercialisation opportunities
technology licensing agreement
Problem addressed

The imbalance between bone formation and bone resorption will lead to different diseases, such as Osteoporosis, Osteogenesis imperfecta (OI, a.k.a. “brittle bone disease”). A new class of aptamer has been developed to promote bone formation, and thus it’s a potential agent for treating OI. Also, those highly specific aptamers can be further developed for targeted drug delivery for treating cancers.

Innovation
  • In our experiment, we had investigated the effect of Sclerostin gene on bone formation under microgravity conditions in space. Sclerostin is a negative regulator of bone remodelling process, which inhibits bone formation. A specific aptamer has been selected and optimized for inhibiting Sclerostin’s activity. Therefore, bone formation can be promoted.
  • Aptamer-drug conjugates have been developed by combining a conventional anti-cancer drug, Triptolide, with aptamers. This modification could improve the drug’s performance in targeting cancer cells. The new drug could have strong anti-cancer activity, low toxicity and side effects, good water solubility and bioavailability.
Key impact
  • Regarding the therapeutic applications, the highly specific aptamer is a promising strategy for targeted delivery of cytotoxic natural products.
  • For patients with osteoporosis, brittle bone disease or other bone remodelling disorders, aptamer-based technology would be a potential treatment.
  • For cancer patients, the highly specific aptamer-drug conjugates could achieve target delivery of drugs, so as to provide better anti-cancer effects with fewer side effects.
Application
  • Aptamers are promising agents in both diagnostic and therapeutic applications. For example, they can be developed into potential drugs for preventing or treating bone loss.
  • Highly specific aptamers can be developed for the diagnosis and treatment of cancers.
Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU)

Aspiring to be a leading, research-led, liberal arts University in Asia, Hong Kong Baptist University is committed to conducting world-leading investigations that extends the frontiers of knowledge, tackles global challenges and benefits the community at home and abroad. 

Pursuing research excellence is one of the priorities of the University’s Institutional Strategic Plan 2018-2028. The University keeps enhancing its capacity and strength to produce world-class research with an aim to bring significant impact to the society. 

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