Non-viral gene therapy: Gains and challenges of non-invasive administration methods

J Control Release. 2016 Oct 28;240:165-190. doi: 10.1016/j.jconrel.2015.12.012. Epub 2015 Dec 11.


Gene therapy is becoming an influential part of the rapidly increasing armamentarium of biopharmaceuticals for improving health and combating diseases. Currently, three gene therapy treatments are approved by regulatory agencies. While these treatments utilize viral vectors, non-viral alternative technologies are also being developed to improve the safety profile and manufacturability of gene carrier formulations. We present an overview of gene-based therapies focusing on non-viral gene delivery systems and the genetic therapeutic tools that will further revolutionize medical treatment with primary focus on the range and development of non-invasive delivery systems for dermal, transdermal, ocular and pulmonary administrations and perspectives on other administration methods such as intranasal, oral, buccal, vaginal, rectal and otic delivery.

Keywords: Biodrugs; Buccal; Cationic lipids; Clinical trials; Cutaneous; Delivery of macromolecules; Gene editing; Gene therapy; Intranasal; Intravaginal; Non-invasive drug delivery; Nucleic acids; Ocular; Otic; Polymers; Protein; Pulmonary; Rectal; Transfection; Vaccines.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biopharmaceutics / methods*
  • Biopharmaceutics / trends
  • Clinical Trials as Topic / methods
  • Gene Transfer Techniques* / trends
  • Genetic Therapy / methods*
  • Genetic Therapy / trends
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / genetics
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / therapy

Grants and funding