Nanoparticle-mediated systemic delivery of siRNA for treatment of cancers and viral infections

Theranostics. 2014 Jun 11;4(9):872-92. doi: 10.7150/thno.9404. eCollection 2014.


RNA interference (RNAi) is an endogenous post-transcriptional gene regulatory mechanism, where non-coding, double-stranded RNA molecules interfere with the expression of certain genes in order to silence it. Since its discovery, this phenomenon has evolved as powerful technology to diagnose and treat diseases at cellular and molecular levels. With a lot of attention, short interfering RNA (siRNA) therapeutics has brought a great hope for treatment of various undruggable diseases, including genetic diseases, cancer, and resistant viral infections. However, the challenge of their systemic delivery and on how they are integrated to exhibit the desired properties and functions remains a key bottleneck for realizing its full potential. Nanoparticles are currently well known to exhibit a number of unique properties that could be strategically tailored into new advanced siRNA delivery systems. This review summarizes the various nanoparticulate systems developed so far in the literature for systemic delivery of siRNA, which include silica and silicon-based nanoparticles, metal and metal oxides nanoparticles, carbon nanotubes, graphene, dendrimers, polymers, cyclodextrins, lipids, hydrogels, and semiconductor nanocrystals. Challenges and barriers to the delivery of siRNA and the role of different nanoparticles to surmount these challenges are also included in the review.

Keywords: Cancer; Delivery; Nanoparticle; RNA interference; Small interfering RNA; Virus..

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Drug Delivery Systems
  • Humans
  • Nanoparticles*
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • RNA, Small Interfering / therapeutic use*
  • Virus Diseases / drug therapy*


  • RNA, Small Interfering