06 July 2016

We were thrilled to be invited by Dr Beat Loeffler to represent our aptamer technology at CLINAM, European Foundation for Clinical Nanomedicine 2016.

In the previous eight years, CLINAM summit grew to the largest in its field with 12 presenting Noble Laureates and more than 500 participants from academia, industry, regulatory authorities and policy from over 40 different countries in Europe and worldwide. With this success and broad support by well beyond 20 renowned collaborating initiatives, the CLINAM‐Summit is today one of the most important marketplaces for scientific exchange and discussions of regulatory, political and ethical aspects in this field of cutting‐edge medicine.

On the 27 July 2016 Casey Woodward presented ‘Modified Aptamers as Replacement for Antibodies in Diagnostics and Therapeutics’

Abstract:

In today’s society, there is an ever increasing desire to understand the world in which we live. This desire largely stems from a general concern for our own wellbeing and therefore extends to many areas ranging from the more obvious, such as human health or threat detection, to the more subtle, such as food safety or environmental monitoring.

There is also a continued need for improved therapies, with reduced side effects: often achieved by more specific delivery of the therapeutic to its specific site of action. All of these areas have at their heart, the need for an ever increasing ‘tool kit’ of reliable and specific target binding reagents.

Until recently, the majority of this need has been met by affinity reagents such as antibodies. While they have their uses, there are still a number of drawbacks which can be addressed by other technologies. Nucleic acid aptamers are now widely recognised as a viable alternative with the potential to fulfil many of these unmet needs. Aptamers are synthetic oligonucleotides, specifically isolated for their ability to recognise a given target with high affinity and specificity that is rarely matched by other means. In this regard, they are often thought of as nucleic acid equivalents of antibodies.

Here, we will present a general introduction to nucleic acid aptamers and explain some of the key benefits that are enabling researchers to address targets where other technologies such as antibodies are unavailable or underperform. We will also highlight a few key applications of aptamers as novel diagnostics, as well as their use in therapeutic application.

We asked Casey what his views were on CLINAM:

CLINAM was a great meeting and covered a range of different topics, from basic science in immunology, cardiovascular disease and physiology all the way through to clinical data from numerous Phase II/III trials. As a relatively novice in the field of nanomedicine, I was surprised about the different types of nanoparticles that exist – liposome, dendrimer, gold etc. and how they have different pros and cons depending on the final assay type. I had a great response from the presentation I delivered and had plenty of questions and comments, both in and out of the session. One thing I didn’t realise about CLINAM is that there are sessions for debating – I didn’t realise there was going to be an aptamer debate! Nevertheless, it proved an interesting and fun discussion with our friends at Aptsci, Noxxon and Roche (talking about the merits of antibodies) and I look forward to catching up with them soon.

I’d most definitely like to attend CLINAM again – the host city (Basel) was great and I have personally made a lot of new friends and contacts from the event. On a side note, the food was great (unlike many conferences!) and the coffee and croissants were most welcome additions for the morning sessions!

If you would like to see the recording of the presentation I delivered, this is currently being edited by Beat Loeffler (chief organiser) and should be available in August. I’d be very happy to send you a copy.

 

In the meantime, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us info@aptamergroup.co.uk