DNA functionalised nanoparticle probes offer new opportunities in analyte detection. Ultrasensitive, molecularly specific targeting of analytes is possible through the use of metallic nanoparticles and their ability to generate a surface enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) response. This is leading to a new range of diagnostic clinical probes based on SERS detection. Our approaches have shown how such probes can detect specific DNA sequences by using a biomolecular recognition event to 'turn on' a SERS response through a controlled assembly process of the DNA functionalised nanoparticles. Further, we have prepared DNA aptamer functionalised SERS probes and demonstrated how introduction of a protein target can change the aggregation state of the nanoparticles in a dose-dependant manner. These approaches are being used as methods to detect biomolecules that indicate a specific disease being present with a view to improving disease management.