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Hum Genet. 2013 May;132(5):481-93. doi: 10.1007/s00439-013-1288-1. Epub 2013 Mar 14.

Silencing human genetic diseases with oligonucleotide-based therapies.

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Sylentis, PCM C/Santiago Grisolía no 2, Tres Cantos, 28760, Madrid, Spain.


RNA interference is an endogenous mechanism present in most eukaryotic cells that enables degradation of specific mRNAs. Pharmacological exploitation of this mechanism for therapeutic purposes attracted a whole amount of attention in its initial years, but was later hampered due to difficulties in delivery of the pharmacological agents to the appropriate organ or tissue. Advances in recent years have to a certain level started to address this specific issue. Genetic diseases are caused by aberrations in gene sequences or structure; these particular abnormalities are in theory easily addressable by RNAi therapeutics. Sequencing of the human genome has largely contributed to the identification of alterations responsible for genetic conditions, thus facilitating the design of compounds that can address these diseases. This review addresses the currently on-going programs with the aim of developing RNAi and other antisense compounds for the treatment of genetic conditions and the pros and cons that these products may encounter along the way. The authors have focused on those programs that have reached clinical trials or are very close to do so.

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