Polymeric delivery systems for nucleic acid therapeutics: Approaching the clinic

van den Berg, Annette I.S., Yun, Chae-Ok, Schiffelers, Raymond M. & Hennink, Wim E.

Published: 10 March 2021


Gene therapy using nucleic acids has many clinical applications for the treatment of diseases with a genetic origin as well as for the development of innovative vaccine formulations. Since nucleic acids in their free form are rapidly degraded by nucleases present in extracellular matrices, have poor pharmacokinetics and hardly pass cellular membranes, carrier systems are required. Suitable carriers that protect the nucleic acid payload against enzymatic attack, prolong circulation time after systemic administration and assist in cellular binding and internalization are needed to develop nucleic acid based drug products. Viral vectors have been investigated and are also clinically used as delivery vehicles. However, some major drawbacks are associated with their use. Therefore there has been substantial attention on the use of non-viral carrier systems based on cationic lipids and polymers. This review focuses on the properties of polymer-based nucleic acid formulations, also referred as polyplexes. Different polymeric systems are summarized, and the cellular barriers polyplexes encounter and ways to tackle these are discussed. Finally attention is given to the clinical status of non-viral nucleic acid formulations.

Full Access Link: Journal of Controlled Release