FEB 27, 2019 10:30 AM PST

Synthetic Antibodies - The Emerging Field of "Aptamers" in Diagnostics and Drug Discovery

Presented at: Drug Discovery 2019
C.E. Credits: P.A.C.E. CE Florida CE
Speaker
  • President & CEO, Aptagen, LLC
    Biography
      Dr. Caltagirone is the President & CEO of Aptagen and has over 25 years of research and business experience in start-ups. A native of York, PA, he began his studies at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia followed by a Ph.D. in neuroscience from Drexel University. He completed his thesis on "Proton-Sensitive Ribozyme Switches with Molecular Memory" at Yale University, and has several patents and publications under his name.

    Abstract

    An aptamer (also known as a synthetic antibody) is a stable DNA, RNA, or peptide ligand that binds with high affinity and specificity to targets such as small molecules, peptides, proteins, biomarkers, cells, and tissues. Typical aptamer affinities are in the nanomolar to picomolar range for several target types.  However, unlike the traditional antibody, aptamers have impressive specificities against target antigens, thereby eliminating cross-reactivity with closely related targets and avoiding false-positive results.  A classic example is an aptamer that exhibits greater than 10,000-fold binding affinity for theophylline over caffeine, which differ from one another in structure by only a single methyl group. Additional benefits of aptamers include: manufacturing costs and time are all lower compared to that of monoclonal antibody production. Once the aptamer (nucleic acid) sequence is known, the aptamer can be easily synthesized using a DNA (oligo) synthesizer.  These aptamer oligos are easy to label with reporters, enzymes, or fluorescent tags. In addition, aptamers can be engineered into molecular switches or apta-switches for signal generation in a drug discovery-based assay or to produce an output in a diagnostic test.

    Learning Objectives: 

    1. To learn how Aptamers are used in Diagnostics 
    2. To learn how Aptamers are used in Drug Discovery


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