Aptamer-Enabled Nanomaterials for Therapeutics, Drug Targeting and Imaging

Cells. 2022 Jan 4;11(1):159. doi: 10.3390/cells11010159.


A wide variety of nanomaterials have emerged in recent years with advantageous properties for a plethora of therapeutic and diagnostic applications. Such applications include drug delivery, imaging, anti-cancer therapy and radiotherapy. There is a critical need for further components which can facilitate therapeutic targeting, augment their physicochemical properties, or broaden their theranostic applications. Aptamers are single-stranded nucleic acids which have been selected or evolved to bind specifically to molecules, surfaces, or cells. Aptamers can also act as direct biologic therapeutics, or in imaging and diagnostics. There is a rich field of discovery at the interdisciplinary interface between nanomaterials and aptamer science that has significant potential across biomedicine. Herein, we review recent progress in aptamer-enabled materials and discuss pending challenges for their future biomedical application.

Keywords: aptamers; bioimaging; drug delivery; nanomaterials; therapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aptamers, Nucleotide / pharmacology
  • Aptamers, Nucleotide / therapeutic use*
  • Drug Delivery Systems / methods*
  • Humans
  • Nanostructures / therapeutic use*
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*


  • Aptamers, Nucleotide