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Adv Drug Deliv Rev. 2018 Mar 1;127:85-105. doi: 10.1016/j.addr.2017.12.014. Epub 2017 Dec 19.

Current and future technological advances in transdermal gene delivery.

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School of Engineering, Institute for Bioengineering, The University of Edinburgh, King's Buildings, Mayfield Road, Edinburgh EH9 3JL, United Kingdom. Electronic address:


Transdermal gene delivery holds significant advantages as it is able to minimize the problems of systemic administration such as enzymatic degradation, systemic toxicity, and poor delivery to target tissues. This technology has the potential to transform the treatment and prevention of a range of diseases. However, the skin poses a great barrier for gene delivery because of the "bricks-and-mortar" structure of the stratum corneum and the tight junctions between keratinocytes in the epidermis. This review systematically summarizes the typical physical and chemical approaches to overcome these barriers and facilitate gene delivery via skin for applications in vaccination, wound healing, skin cancers and skin diseases. Next, the advantages and disadvantages of different approaches are discussed and the insights for future development are provided.


Chemical approaches; Gene therapy; Physical approaches; Skin delivery; Skin vaccination; Transdermal delivery


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