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IDrugs. 2005 Aug;8(8):642-7.

State-of-the-art modified RNAi compounds for therapeutics.

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Invitrogen Corporation, Carlsbad, CA 92008, USA.


In recent years, the recognition of non-protein coding RNAs as a functional effector of genetic expression has been highlighted by the discovery of RNA interference (RNAi). RNAi is an intracellular phenomenon that enables the eukaryotic cell to utilize double-stranded RNA molecules to silence gene expression in a sequence-specific manner. The short interfering RNA (siRNA) pathway has been intensively investigated and continues to serve as the basis for the development of potent molecular genetic tools. The power of this technology is most clearly evidenced by the fact that siRNA effector molecules can be chemically synthesized and exogenously delivered to specifically target and silence any gene of choice. This capability enables not only basic research, but also opens the door to a new therapeutic modality. Furthermore, the introduction of certain chemical modifications to siRNA effectors can produce a more robust knockdown of gene expression, hence, optimizing serum stability and increasing target specificity yet limiting the induction of cellular stress response, which are key features for in vivo delivery and successful therapeutics. This article outlines the progress in the development of differentially modified siRNA duplexes and their potential role as human therapeutics.

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