Current prospects for RNA interference-based therapies

Nat Rev Genet. 2011 May;12(5):329-40. doi: 10.1038/nrg2968.


RNA interference (RNAi) is a powerful approach for reducing expression of endogenously expressed proteins. It is widely used for biological applications and is being harnessed to silence mRNAs encoding pathogenic proteins for therapy. Various methods - including delivering RNA oligonucleotides and expressing RNAi triggers from viral vectors - have been developed for successful RNAi in cell culture and in vivo. Recently, RNAi-based gene silencing approaches have been demonstrated in humans, and ongoing clinical trials hold promise for treating fatal disorders or providing alternatives to traditional small molecule therapies. Here we describe the broad range of approaches to achieve targeted gene silencing for therapy, discuss important considerations when developing RNAi triggers for use in humans, and review the current status of clinical trials.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Gene Silencing
  • Gene Targeting / methods*
  • Genetic Therapy / methods*
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • RNA Interference*