Aptamer selection against GFRa1 for its application in the prognosis of breast cancer
Swartz, Lauren Taryn
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Breast cancer is the second most common cancer amongst South African women. Despite ongoing efforts to combat breast cancer, current prognostic and/or therapeutic monitoring methods are limited since very little improvement, in the rate of long term recurrence of breast cancer, has been observed. Considering this, developing novel strategies to detect breast cancer recurrence – at an early onset – is crucial for monitoring the disease and potentially preventing disease progression. Methods currently used for the detection of BC are costly and can also be very uncomfortable for the patient. These methods are also too costly to use as a routine test, following surgery or treatment to assess disease progression. Thus, developing a cost-effective detection method appears to be an appealing alternative. Serum/blood-based biomarkers are ideal targets for the development of low cost detection assays. Two candidate biomarkers, unique ligand binding protein 2 (ULBP2) and glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor family receptor alpha 1 (GFR1) were identified using bioinformatics and proteomics, respectively. These biomarkers have demonstrated to be useful prognostic biomarkers for breast cancer. The selection of aptamers against these biomarkers can facilitate the development of cost-effective detection methods. Aptamers are short DNA or RNA oligonucleotides that have very high affinity and specificity for its targets and can potentially replace antibodies as tools for molecular recognition in detection systems, such as the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), lateral flow assays and electrochemical biosensors.