22nd August, 2017.

Biomarker Discovery

A biomarker is a measurable indicator showing the presence or severity of a disease state. Using biomarkers to differentiate between healthy and diseased cells can enable the development of specific diagnostics, research tools and targeted therapeutics.

Biomarker Discovery using Aptamers

Traditional biomarker discovery is a long process and relies on multiple comparisons using various analytical techniques. As the nature of a biomarker is not always known, or it appears in too low abundance, there are additional challenges with using conventional detection methods. At Aptamer Group we use our aptamer selection to drive biomarker discovery.

Initially aptamer selection is performed against the ‘disease’ cell line. After the aptamer library has been refined by exposure to the ‘disease’ cell line, the normal or ‘healthy’ cell line is used for counter selection.  The normal cells enable removal of aptamers that bind to common non-disease linked biomarkers. The remaining unbound aptamers are then incubated with the ‘disease’ cell line generating an enriched and specific population. This process is repeated to ensure that the aptamers selected are binding specifically to biomarkers of the target disease.

Once suitable aptamers have been discovered, we can use them for specific applications, even without knowing what the biomarkers are!

Aptamer Applications for Biomarkers

Aptamers are highly specific and strong binding affinity reagents, making them perfect for detecting biomarkers. Coupled to this is the ease with which aptamers can be modified. During selection we start with the end application in mind ensuring that any modifications to the aptamer, such as adding a fluorescent dye, are implemented so that they do not hinder performance. By doing this aptamers selected will be optimised for your use and technique.

Comparing healthy to disease state cells using aptamers

Figure 1: Aptamers can be used to differentiate between Healthy, Early Cancer and Later Stage Cancer cells and cells from a Closely Related Disease. 3 different aptamer populations were used across all 4 cell types. Each aptamer population distinguishes, and can be used to identify, a target disease cell type using unknown biomarkers.

The Aptamer Advantage

In addition to generating aptamers with high affinity and specificity, our automated platform delivers them consistently and rapidly. The selection process can identify suitable aptamers in less than 12 weeks.

If you are looking for novel biomarkers or need support to identify affinity reagents for your research, discovery or development project, then please get in touch using the form below.