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Clin Chim Acta. 2006 May;367(1-2):20-7. Epub 2006 Jan 19.

Ribozyme: a clinical tool.

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Interdisciplinary Biotechnology unit, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh 202002, India.


Catalytic RNAs (ribozymes) are capable of specifically cleaving RNA molecules, a property that enables them to act as potential antiviral and anti-cancer agents, as well as powerful tools for functional genomic studies. Recently, ribozymes have been used successfully to inhibit gene expression in a variety of biological systems in vitro and in vivo. Phase I clinical trials using ribozyme gene therapy to treat AIDS patients have been conducted. Despite initial success, there are many areas that require further investigation. These include stability of ribozymes in cells and designing highly active ribozymes in vivo, identification of target sequence sites and co-localization of ribozymes and substrates, and their delivery to specific tissues and maintenance of its stable long-term expression. This review gives a brief introduction to ribozyme structure, catalysis and its potential applications in biological systems as therapeutic agents.

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