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Pharmaceuticals, Vol. 11, Pages 71: Targeted Molecular Imaging Using Aptamers in Cancer


Imaging is not only seeing, but also believing. For targeted imaging modalities, nucleic acid aptamers have features such as superior recognition of structural epitopes and quick uptake in target cells. This explains the emergence of an evolved new class of aptamers into a wide spectrum of imaging applications over the last decade. Genetically encoded biosensors tagged with fluorescent RNA aptamers have been developed as intracellular imaging tools to understand cellular signaling and physiology in live cells. Cancer-specific aptamers labeled with fluorescence have been used for assessment of clinical tissue specimens. Aptamers conjugated with gold nanoparticles have been employed to develop innovative mass spectrometry tissue imaging. Also, use of chemically conjugated cancer-specific aptamers as probes for non-invasive and high-resolution imaging has been transformative for in vivo imaging in multiple cancers.