Affinity Cell Purification and Cell Activity Modulation with Aptamers
Aptamers are short strands of nucleic acids with high affinity and specificity for their targets. Advantages of using aptamers, relative to antibodies, include their smaller size, ease of synthesis, and lack of immunogenicity. Therefore, aptamers technology can be a novel cancer therapy strategy. The goals of our research program are to develop aptamers that catch and release circulating tumor cells and block receptors involve in cancer stem cell pathways. The developed aptamers will then be used in two groups: i) to catch tumor circulating cells ii) to identify targets in cancer stem cells for more effective interventions. Developing aptamer-based technology will lead to novel cell isolation technology and pharmacological strategies aiming at effective treatments of cancer – aptamer therapy, benefiting patients with cancer. Furthermore, this project will produce new knowledge in the shared pathways of stem cells and cancer stem cells.