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A novel Integration and application of 2nd generation Aptamers, in therapeutic (drug delivery), diagnostics (biosensor) and environmental (as bioconductor)

Project Requested Funding: 7,600,000 Euro

Program: Nano Technologies and Nano Sciences

Program Type: IP - 6th Framework of the European Community

Status: SME Partner

Submitted: 17/03/2005


Nanoaptamer are nucleic acid-based molecules prepared by template-dependent combinatorial assembly, and selected through in-vitro evolution approach for specific functions in applications needing bio-recognition and catalysis. As compared to simple RNA or DNA Aptamers, the Nanoaptamer are combined with other nano-entities resulting in improved performance characteristics, especially in terms of their immensely expanded functional capacities.

The Nanoaptamer assembly and function are based on new chemistries and interactions which will enable the development of novel drugs and sensory molecules. Nanoaptamer may be used in applications requiring in-vivo and in-vitro manipulations of small and large molecules through specific recognition, leading to explicit inhibition and catalytic modifications.

Associated applications may include

(a) diagnostics and sensory detection of desired molecules (e.g. recognition of a biohazard compound in water, or a specific protein in the body;

(b) drug delivery and targeting (e.g. directing a toxic compound to the targeted tissue or protein receptor);

(c) supramolecular assemblies where several molecules are glued together by the Nanoaptamer (e.g. electronic switch between donor and acceptor).

The proven value of the current Aptamers, in both therapeutic and diagnostics applications developed by industry (see companies such as Eytech and Archemix) and Academic groups induces immense enthusiasm for the functionally-expanded Nanoaptamer providing new-chemistry for improving life quality worldwide. We propose to combine the aptamer technology with other novel technologies, now under development.

In this proposal we will combine the aptamer technology with hybrid organic-inorganic nano vesicles to deliver the aptamers to target sites where they will selectively interact with either low or high molecular weight molecules. In addition, we will encapsulate the aptamers in nano-vesicles which are designed for targeted delivery and controlled release. Other applications are related to biosensors for diagnostic purposes and bio-conductors in applications related to energy production.