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An Aptamer that Targets Hormone Refractory Prostate Cancer

Prof. Günter Mayer, University of Bonn; Dr Michael Kubbutat, KTB Tumorforschungsgesellschaft mbH; Dr Frédéric Ducongé, Commissariat à l’énergie atomique et aux énergies alternatives

PROvendis GmbH


Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men. Especially, hormone refractory prostate cancer is not curable and targeted therapies are yet not available. Hormone refractory prostate tumour cells likely metastasize to distal sites accounting for poor prognosis and survival of patients. Thus, means for early diagnosis and treatment of hormone refractory prostate cancer are desperately needed. 


Aptamers are an emerging class of molecules for developing targeted therapy approaches. They are single chain nucleic acids, folding into well-defined three-dimensional shapes based on which they recognize target structures. The inventors used an orthotopic xenograft mouse model to perform an in-vivo screening in order to identify an aptamer that selectively binds to cells of a hormone refractory prostate tumour. Several rounds of selection starting from a DNA library yielded an aptamer that binds its target selectively in-vivo and in-vitro. The aptamer is characterized in a PEGylation pattern that stabilizes the Aptamer and prolongs plasma half-life. In this particular case, the PEGylation was already present during in-vivo selection. The Aptamer of the present invention may be used diagnostic or therapeutic purposes. In particular when coupled to a drug, the Apatamer may be used in analogy to an antibody-drug-conjugate.

Commercial Opportunity

PROvendis is offering licenses for the invention to interested companies. There is also the possibility of collaboration with the inventor.

Development Status

Selective binding of the Aptamer to tumour cells and stability of the Aptamer have been proven in in vivo and in vitro models.

Patent Situation

A European patent application has been filed in January 2019.

Further Reading

Civit, L. et al.: Targeting hormone refractory prostate cancer by in vivo selected DNA libraries in an orthotopic xenograft mouse model, submitted


An Aptamer that Targets Hormone Refractory Prostate Cancer