Aptamer delivery of siRNA, radiopharmaceutics and chemotherapy agents in cancer

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Aptamers are oligonucleotide reagents with high affinity and specificity, which among other therapeutic and diagnostic applications have the capability of acting as delivery agents. Thus, aptamers are capable of carrying small molecules, nanoparticles, radiopharmaceuticals or fluorescent agents as well as nucleic acid therapeutics specifically to their target cells. In most cases, the molecules may possess interesting therapeutic properties, but their lack of specificity for a particular cell type, or ability to internalise in such a cell, hinders their clinical development, or cause unwanted side effects. Thus, chemotherapy or radiotherapy agents, famous for their side effects, can be coupled to aptamers for specific delivery. Equally, siRNA have great therapeutic potential and specificity, but one of their shortcomings remain the delivery and internalisation into cells. Various methodologies have been proposed to date, including aptamers, to resolve this problem. Therapeutic or imaging reagents benefit from the adaptability and ease of chemical manipulation of aptamers, their high affinity for the specific marker of a cell type, and their internalisation ability via cell mediated endocytosis. In this review paper, we explore the potential of the aptamers as delivery agents and offer an update on current status and latest advancements.Graphical abstractAptamers are capable of specifically recognising tumour markers and deliver therapeutic agents like siRNA, Radiopharmaceuticals, Chemotherapy agents or nanoparticles with high efficiency, thus improving their therapeutic potential and minimising unwanted side effects.

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