4 April 2016

It is the third Oxford symposium on aptamers and we are delighted to announce that Dr David Bunka has been invited as a featured speaker for the third year running.

The conference is designed to bring together academic and industrial aptamer researchers and solution providers. The conference will address therapeutic, diagnostic and research based applications of aptamers.

On the 4th April 2016, Dr David Bunka will be chairing session 1: SELEX – New technological developments.

At 16.00hrs David will be presenting in session 3: ‘Novel Based Aptamer Biomarker Discovery’. 


Recent figures published by Cancer Research UK show that almost 30% of deaths in adults aged 25-45 are cancer related, rising to 45% in 50-75 year olds. As with most cancers the early detection and stratification of patients offers the best outcomes from treatment. Most diagnostics use one or more associated biomarkers as an indicator of disease. Unfortunately, many of the same proteins are up-regulated in different diseases, making diagnosis based on these markers less accurate. Accurate diagnostics rely on the identification of rarer, disease specific biomarkers. Once a disease specific biomarker is identified, it may then be used for diagnosis, stratification, monitoring and potentially treatment of haematological cancers (such as leukaemia) or solid tumours (such as adenocarcinoma). The need for more specific biomarkers and technologies to identify them is reflected in the projected growth in the Biomarker Discovery market, which is predicted to be worth ~$45 Billion by 2020, it is therefore an understandably growing area of research.

The identification of disease-specific biomarkers can be an arduous process and often fails due to  low biomarker concentration or the inability to resolve two similar markers. These issues make it difficult to identify the biomarker amongst the background of other more abundant materials. This is further compounded by the fact that most current diagnostic tests rely on the isolation of antibodies against the target, which can in itself be a long and demanding task.

Using a modified version of aptamer selection, we can by-pass a lot of the problems associated with Biomarker Discovery. Cell or tissue based selections allow the user to isolate aptamers directly against surface markers without the need to identify and purify them in advance. The selection process also allows simultaneous selection of aptamers against multiple surface markers. Unfortunately, cell / tissue selection is also prone to the problems associated with the abundance of non-specific markers and relatively low specific biomarker concentration. We have developed a process that alleviates the problems associated with aptamer-based biomarker discovery, using populations of cells with enhanced biomarker expression, and combined it with our high throughput aptamer cell selection processes, to vastly improve the probability of isolating aptamers against the rarer cell surface markers. It is our expectation that this will improve the efficiency of selection for disease specific biomarkers. We will present preliminary findings using this first in kind biomarker discovery platform.

We have a number of representatives at this event, please pop to our stand if you are interested in learning more about our  aptamer solutions. 

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us info@aptamergroup.co.uk