The current state and future directions of RNAi-based therapeutics

Nat Rev Drug Discov. 2019 Jun;18(6):421-446. doi: 10.1038/s41573-019-0017-4.


The RNA interference (RNAi) pathway regulates mRNA stability and translation in nearly all human cells. Small double-stranded RNA molecules can efficiently trigger RNAi silencing of specific genes, but their therapeutic use has faced numerous challenges involving safety and potency. However, August 2018 marked a new era for the field, with the US Food and Drug Administration approving patisiran, the first RNAi-based drug. In this Review, we discuss key advances in the design and development of RNAi drugs leading up to this landmark achievement, the state of the current clinical pipeline and prospects for future advances, including novel RNAi pathway agents utilizing mechanisms beyond post-translational RNAi silencing.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Drug Delivery Systems*
  • Humans
  • RNA Interference*
  • RNA, Small Interfering / therapeutic use*
  • RNAi Therapeutics / methods*


  • RNA, Small Interfering