SiRNA molecules represent promising therapeutic molecules, e.g. for cancer therapy. However, efficient delivery into tumor cells remains a major obstacle for treatment. Here, we describe a liposomal siRNA carrier system for targeted delivery of siRNA to CD33-positive acute myeloid leukemia cells. The siRNA is directed against the t(8;21) translocation resulting in the AML1/MTG8 fusion protein. The siRNA was encapsulated in free or polyethylene imine (PEI)-complexed form into PEGylated liposomes endowed subsequently with an anti-CD33 single-chain Fv fragment (scFv) for targeted delivery. The resulting siRNA-loaded immunoliposomes (IL) and immunolipoplexes (ILP) showed specific binding and internalization by CD33-expressing myeloid leukemia cell lines (SKNO-1, Kasumi-1). Targeted delivery of AML1/MTG8 siRNA, but not of mismatch control siRNA, reduced AML1/MTG8 mRNA and protein levels and decreased leukemic clonogenicity, a hallmark of leukemic self-renewal. Although this study revealed that further modifications are necessary to increase efficacy of siRNA delivery and silencing, we were able to establish a targeted liposomal siRNA delivery system combining recombinant antibody fragments for targeted delivery with tumor cell-specific siRNA molecules as therapeutic agents.
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