The potential of aptamers as anticoagulants

Trends Cardiovasc Med. 2005 Jan;15(1):41-5. doi: 10.1016/j.tcm.2005.01.002.


Useful additional options for anticoagulant therapy have been introduced over the last 15 years, including low-molecular-weight heparins and direct thrombin inhibitors. Despite these impressive advances, a need for safer effective anticoagulants remains. Aptamers represent a therapeutic modality that has the potential to address this unmet need. Aptamers are small nucleic acid molecules that function as direct protein inhibitors, much like monoclonal antibodies. Aptamers are delivered by parenteral administration, can be formulated to possess a very short or sustained half-life, and are purported to be nonimmunogenic. Perhaps most relevant to the development of safer anticoagulant therapies, recent studies have shown that antidotes can be rationally designed to control the pharmacologic effects of aptamers in vivo, paving the way for a new class of antidote-controlled therapeutics. This review discusses the limitations of current anticoagulant therapies, the properties of aptamers and how these properties can be exploited to address the unmet needs within this therapeutic class, and the progress to date in developing new aptamer-based anticoagulant therapies.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anticoagulants / adverse effects
  • Anticoagulants / pharmacology*
  • Anticoagulants / therapeutic use
  • Drug Delivery Systems
  • Drug Design*
  • Factor IX / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Hemorrhage / chemically induced
  • Humans
  • Oligonucleotides / pharmacology*
  • Oligonucleotides / therapeutic use


  • Anticoagulants
  • Oligonucleotides
  • Factor IX