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The Aptamers better than antibodies?

Aptamers are DNA or RNA nucleic acids that recognize a wide variety of molecules. Each aptamer has a particular three-dimensional structure that allows it to bind with high affinity and specificity to the target molecule. Aptamers have recognition properties comparable to antibodies, however, due to their compositional nature, they have significant advantages in relation to their size, production and modification.

The main advantages that differentiate them from antibodies are:

  • They have High Reproducibility.
  • They are stable at room temperature.
  • Lower manufacturing cost.
  • Possibility to adapt and customize functionalities.
  • Smaller size: greater penetration capacity in tissues and adhesion to target molecules.
  • Its not produced in animals.


The aptamers may have different applications in the biological field, among which we find:

  • Detection of targets and clinical diagnosis: aptamers can be used as recognition molecules in different biosensing systems. They can be applied to widely used techniques such as ELONA (equivalent to ELISA but Oligonucleotide), Western Blot, Flow Cytometry, Microarrays, Cytochemistry or Histochemistry, among others.
  • Therapy: the aptamers are able to interfere in the biological function of their targets and can also be used in the targeting and transport of drugs.
  • Research and Biotechnology: their ability to bind specifically and with great affinity to a given molecule allows them to be used in separation systems (Aptapurification).

Based on the research published in 'Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences', the author Bruce Sullenger professor in the Departments of Surgery and Pharmacology and Cancer Biology at Duke; Indicates that aptamers are considered "a good alternative for the treatment of tumors found in the human organism, indicates that they are preferred by researchers because unlike antibodies, aptamers allows them to have more control over where they go and what will they do within the treatment applied in patients with tumors”.(1)



  1. Lee, J. et al. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA; published online Aug. 15, 2011; doi:10.1073/pnas.1105777108 | Article | 
    Contact: Bruce A. Sullenger, Duke University, Durham, N.C.