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Molecular Application of Aptamers in the Diagnosis and Treatment of Cancer and Communicable Diseases

Biotechnology and Structural Biochemistry (BSB) Group, Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology, Faculty of Science and Agriculture, University of Zululand, KwaDlangezwa 3886, South Africa
Department of Biochemistry, College of Sciences, Afe Babalola University, PMB 5454, Ado-Ekiti 360001, Nigeria
DST/Mintek Nanotechnology Innovation Centre, Biolabels Node, Department of Biotechnology, University of the Western Cape, Bellville 7535, South Africa
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Pharmaceuticals 2018, 11(4), 93;
Received: 18 July 2018 / Revised: 20 September 2018 / Accepted: 24 September 2018 / Published: 28 September 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aptamer-Based Diagnostics and Therapeutics)
PDF [321 KB, uploaded 28 September 2018]


Cancer and infectious diseases such as Ebola, HIV, tuberculosis, Zika, hepatitis, measles and human schistosomiasis are serious global health hazards. The increasing annual morbidities and mortalities of these diseases have been blamed on drug resistance and the inefficacy of available diagnostic tools, particularly those which are immunologically-based. Antibody-based tools rely solely on antibody production for diagnosis and for this reason they are the major cause of diagnostic delays. Unfortunately, the control of these diseases depends on early detection and administration of effective treatment therefore any diagnostic delay is a huge challenge to curbing these diseases. Hence, there is a need for alternative diagnostic tools, discovery and development of novel therapeutic agents. Studies have demonstrated that aptamers could potentially offer one of the best solutions to these problems. Aptamers are short sequences of either DNA or RNA molecules, which are identified in vitro through a SELEX process. They are sensitive and bind specifically to target molecules. Their promising features suggest they may serve as better diagnostic agents and can be used as drug carriers for therapeutic purposes. In this article, we review the applications of aptamers in the theranostics of cancer and some infectious diseases. View Full-Text
Keywords: aptamers; cancer; diagnostics; therapeutics; infectious diseases; SELEX aptamers; cancer; diagnostics; therapeutics; infectious diseases; SELEX
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Molefe, P.F.; Masamba, P.; Oyinloye, B.E.; Mbatha, L.S.; Meyer, M.; Kappo, A.P. Molecular Application of Aptamers in the Diagnosis and Treatment of Cancer and Communicable Diseases. Pharmaceuticals 2018, 11, 93.

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