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Cancer Sci. 2006 Aug;97(8):689-96.

Therapeutic potential of RNA interference against cancer.

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  • 1Section for Studies on Metastasis, National Cancer Center Research Institute, Tokyo 104-0045, Japan.


One of the most dramatic events of the past 5 years in the field of molecular biology has been the discovery of RNA interference (RNAi). Although RNAi is an evolutionarily conserved phenomenon for sequence-specific gene silencing in mammalian cells, exogenous small interfering RNA (siRNA) and vector-based short hairpin RNA (shRNA) can also invoke RNAi responses. Both are now not only experimental tools for analyzing gene function but are expected to be excellent avenues for drug target discovery and the emerging class of gene medicine for targeting incurable diseases such as cancer. The success of cancer therapeutic use of RNAi relies on the development of safe and efficacious delivery systems that introduce siRNA and shRNA expression vectors into target tumor cells. For their delivery, a variety of strategies have been used, most of them based on traditional gene therapy delivery systems. In this review, we present siRNA delivery method strategies and discuss the potential of RNAi-based gene therapy in cancer treatment.

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