Nanotechnology-Assisted RNA Delivery: From Nucleic Acid Therapeutics to COVID-19 Vaccines

Small Methods. 2021 Jul 28:2100402. doi: 10.1002/smtd.202100402. Online ahead of print.

ABSTRACT

In recent years, the main quest of science has been the pioneering of the groundbreaking biomedical strategies needed for achieving a personalized medicine. Ribonucleic acids (RNAs) are outstanding bioactive macromolecules identified as pivotal actors in regulating a wide range of biochemical pathways. The ability to intimately control the cell fate and tissue activities makes RNA-based drugs the most fascinating family of bioactive agents. However, achieving a widespread application of RNA therapeutics in humans is still a challenging feat, due to both the instability of naked RNA and the presence of biological barriers aimed at hindering the entrance of RNA into cells. Recently, material scientists’ enormous efforts have led to the development of various classes of nanostructured carriers customized to overcome these limitations. This work systematically reviews the current advances in developing the next generation of drugs based on nanotechnology-assisted RNA delivery. The features of the most used RNA molecules are presented, together with the development strategies and properties of nanostructured vehicles. Also provided is an in-depth overview of various therapeutic applications of the presented systems, including coronavirus disease vaccines and the newest trends in the field. Lastly, emerging challenges and future perspectives for nanotechnology-mediated RNA therapies are discussed.

PMID:34514087 | PMC:PMC8420172 | DOI:10.1002/smtd.202100402

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