Aptamers are single-chained RNA or DNA oligonucleotides (ODNs) with a three-dimensional conformation that provides the ability to fit their targets with high affinity and specificity obtained by a method called SELEX. Cancer immunotherapy has nowadays come back to prominence due to its encouraging results in the clinic with monoclonal antibodies. Aptamers display some important advantages over antibodies at the time of translation into the clinic. They are very suitable for targeting and delivery, reducing off-target side effects, and increasing the therapeutic index of a given strategy. Hundreds of aptamers have been described for very different purposes within biomedical research. Some of the aptamers described recently have been isolated with immunotherapeutic applications to overcome current challenges in cancer immunotherapy. To elicit a specific antitumor immune response, some of these aptamers are engineered to activate co-stimulatory receptors or blocking immunosuppressive signals. Aptamers would hopefully gain an important niche in cancer immunotherapy due to their specific properties.
Part of the book: Immunotherapy