Review Article

Tools for translation: non-viral materials for therapeutic mRNA delivery

  • Nature Reviews Materials 2, Article number: 17056 (2017)
  • doi:10.1038/natrevmats.2017.56
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Abstract

In recent years, messenger RNA (mRNA) has come into the spotlight as a versatile therapeutic with the potential to prevent and treat a staggering range of diseases. Billions of dollars have been invested in the commercial development of mRNA drugs, with ongoing clinical trials focused on vaccines (for example, influenza and Zika viruses) and cancer immunotherapy (for example, myeloma, leukaemia and glioblastoma). Although significant progress has been made in the design of in vitro-transcribed mRNA that retains potency while minimizing unwanted immune responses, the widespread use of mRNA drugs requires the development of safe and effective drug delivery vehicles. In this Review, we provide an overview of the field of mRNA therapeutics and describe recent advances in the development of synthetic materials that encapsulate and deliver mRNA payloads.

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Acknowledgements

Funding was provided by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), grant number D16AP00143. The authors thank R. Weiss for his feedback on the manuscript.

Author information

Affiliations

  1. Department of Chemical Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213, USA.

    • Khalid A. Hajj
    •  & Kathryn A. Whitehead
  2. Department of Biomedical Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213, USA.

    • Kathryn A. Whitehead

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Competing interests

The authors declare no competing interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Kathryn A. Whitehead.