In-vitro Clinical Diagnostics using RNA-Cleaving DNAzymes

Chembiochem. 2024 Jun 3;25(11):e202400085. doi: 10.1002/cbic.202400085. Epub 2024 Apr 29.


Over the last three decades, significant advancements have been made in the development of biosensors and bioassays that use RNA-cleaving DNAzymes (RCDs) as molecular recognition elements. While early examples of RCDs were primarily responsive to metal ions, the past decade has seen numerous RCDs reported for more clinically relevant targets such as bacteria, cancer cells, small metabolites, and protein biomarkers. Over the past 5 years several RCD-based biosensors have also been evaluated using either spiked biological matrixes or patient samples, including blood, serum, saliva, nasal mucus, sputum, urine, and faeces, which is a critical step toward regulatory approval and commercialization of such sensors. In this review, an overview of the methods used to generate RCDs and the properties of key RCDs that have been utilized for in vitro testing is first provided. Examples of RCD-based assays and sensors that have been used to test either spiked biological samples or patient samples are then presented, highlighting assay performance in different biological matrixes. A summary of current prospects and challenges for development of in vitro diagnostic tests incorporating RCDs and an overview of future directions of the field is also provided.

Keywords: DNAzyme; In vitro diagnostics; biosensor; cancer screening; pathogen detection.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biosensing Techniques*
  • DNA, Catalytic* / chemistry
  • DNA, Catalytic* / metabolism
  • Humans
  • RNA / analysis
  • RNA / metabolism
  • RNA Cleavage


  • DNA, Catalytic
  • RNA