Aptamers improve the bioactivity of biomaterials



ISSN 2514-3247
(2017), Vol 1, in press

Published online: 02 March 2017

Full Text (PDF ~1000kb)

Aptamers improve the bioactivity of biomaterials

Ludovica Parisi 1,2, Carlo Galli 1,2,3,*, Alberto Neri 2, Andrea Toffoli 1,2, Elena Calciolari 4, Edoardo Manfredi 1,2, Simone Lumetti 1,2, Guido M Macaluso 1,2,3, Federico Rivara 1,2, Claudio Macaluso 2

1 Centro di Odontoiatria, University of Parma, Via Gramsci 14, 43121 Parma, Italy

2 Dipartimento di Medicina e Chirurgia, University of Parma, Via Gramsci 14, 43121 Parma, Italy

3 IMEM-CNR National Research Council, Parco Area delle Scienze 37/A, 43124 Parma, Italy

4 Centre for Oral Clinical Research, Institute of Dentistry, Barts & The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London, Mile End Road London E1 4NS, UK

Correspondence to: Carlo Galli, Email: carlo.galli@unipr.it, Tel: +39 0521 906740

Received:  29 December 2016 | Revised: 10 February 2017 | Accepted: 01 March 2017

© Copyright The Author(s). This is an open access article, published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0). This license permits non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction of this article, provided the original work is appropriately acknowledged, with correct citation details.


The research in the field of biomaterials has largely focused on the development of methods to enhance their bioactivity. Adopted strategies include chemical-physical approaches, but mainly the use of monoclonal antibodies, which confer the system target specificity. However, antibodies are marred by numerous issues, such as low physical-chemical stability or the risk of inducing immunological responses in the host, which often make their use difficult. Aptamers – a new class of molecules discovered in the early nineties – are small oligonucleotides, or in some cases peptides, and have been proposed to rival antibodies in biomedicine, countering at least some of the antibody-related drawbacks. The aim of this review is to provide a background to nucleic acid aptamers and to explore their novel applications. In addition to providing brief overview of their therapeutics applications, here we have assessed the methods that employ aptamers to improve the bioactivity of biomaterials, in particular, those that enhance targeting properties of drug delivery systems for chemotherapy, and those ameliorating scaffold biocompatibility for tissue engineering approaches.

KEYWORDS: Nucleic acid aptamers, biomaterials, bioactivity, drug delivery system, scaffold