Author(s): Durcan N, Murphy C, Cryan SA
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Abstract RNA interference (RNAi) is gaining increasing popularity both as a molecular biology tool and as a potential therapeutic agent. RNAi is a naturally occurring gene regulatory mechanism, which has a number of advantages over other gene/antisense therapies including specificity of inhibition, potency, the small size of the molecules and the diminished risk of toxic effects, e.g., immune responses. Targeted, local delivery of RNAi to the lungs via inhalation offers a unique opportunity to treat a range of previously untreatable or poorly controlled respiratory conditions. In this timely review we look at the potential applications of RNAi in the lungs for the treatment of a range of diseases including inflammatory and immune conditions, cystic fibrosis, infectious disease and cancer. In 2006 Alnylam initiated the first phase 1 clinical study of an inhaled siRNA for the treatment of respiratory syncytial virus. If its potential as a therapeutic is to be realized, then safe and efficient means of targeted delivery of small interfering RNA (siRNA) to the lungs must be developed. Therefore in this review we also present the latest developments in siRNA delivery to airway cells in vitro and the work to date on in vivo delivery of siRNA to the lungs for the treatment of a range of diseases.
This article was published in Mol Pharm
and referenced in Journal of Cell Science & Therapy