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Aptamer-Based Fentanyl Detection in Biological Fluids

NCJ Number
Analytical Chemistry Volume: 95 Issue: 49 Dated: November 2023 Pages: 18258–18267
Date Published
November 2023
10 pages

This paper describes the use of SELEX to isolate aptamers for fentanyl detection in bodily fluids.


In this study, researchers utilized library-immobilized SELEX to isolate new aptamers—nucleic acid–based bioreceptors that are well-suited for biosensing—that can specifically bind fentanyl under physiological conditions. The researchers isolated multiple aptamers with nanomolar affinity and excellent specificity against dozens of interferents and incorporated one of these into an electrochemical aptamer-based sensor that can rapidly detect fentanyl at clinically relevant concentrations in 50% diluted serum, urine, and saliva. Given the excellent performance of these sensors, the authors believe that they could serve as the basis for point-of-care devices for monitoring fentanyl during medical procedures and determining fentanyl overdose. Fentanyl is a widely abused analgesic and anesthetic drug with a narrow therapeutic window that creates easy opportunities for overdose and death. Rapid, accurate, and sensitive fentanyl detection in biosamples is crucial for therapeutic drug monitoring and overdose diagnosis. Unfortunately, current methods are limited to either sophisticated laboratory-based tests or antibody-based immunoassays, which are prone to false results and are mainly used with urine samples. (Published Abstract Provided)

Date Published: November 1, 2023