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The aptness of aptamers

Aptamers are nucleic acid ligands selected to interact with specific proteins with high affinity. In the September 5 Nature, Rusconi et al. describe the elegant design of a drug-antidote pair to control blood clotting using aptamer technology (Nature 2002, 419:90-94). They screened a nucleic-acid combinatorial library for aptamers specific for coagulation factor FIXa. They selected a high-affinity aptamer and demonstrated that it could inhibit FIXa activity and acted as an anti-coagulant. Rusconi et al. also created antidote oligonucleotides that blocked binding of the aptamer. The drug and antidote could effectively control clotting times in the plasma of patients with heparin-induced thrombocytopenia. This strategy presents a promising approach for the development of safe aptamer-antidote pairs as therapeutics.


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Weitzman, J.B. The aptness of aptamers. Genome Biol 3, spotlight-20020911-01 (2002).

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  • Nucleic Acid
  • Thrombocytopenia
  • FIXa Activity
  • Blood Clotting
  • Specific Protein