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Histol Histopathol. 2007 Feb;22(2):211-7.

Development of new RNAi therapeutics.

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  • 1Immusol, Inc., San Diego, CA 92121, USA.


RNAi-mediated gene inactivation has become a cornerstone of the present day gene function studies that are the foundation of mechanism and target based drug discovery and development, which could potentially shorten the otherwise long process of drug development. In particular, the coming of age of "RNAi drug" could provide new promising therapeutics bypassing traditional approaches. However, there are technological hurdles need to overcome and the biological limitations need to consider for achieving effective therapeutics. Major hurdles include the intrinsic poor pharmacokinetic property of siRNA and major biological restrictions include off-target effects, interferon response and the interference with endogenous miRNA. Recent innovations in nucleic acid chemistry, formulations and delivery methods have gradually rendered it possible to develop effective RNAi-based therapeutics. Careful design based on the newest RNAi/miRNA biology can also help to minimize the potential tissue toxicity. If successful with systemic application, RNAi drug will no doubt revolutionize the whole drug development process. This review attempts to describe the progress in this area, including applications in preclinical models and recent favorable experience in a number of human trials of local diseases, along with the discussion on the potential limitations of RNAi therapeutics.

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