Theranostics 2014; 4(9):872-892. doi:10.7150/thno.9404


Nanoparticle-Mediated Systemic Delivery of siRNA for Treatment of Cancers and Viral Infections

Mohamed Shehata Draz1,2*, Binbin Amanda Fang3,4,*, Pengfei Zhang5, Zhi Hu6, Shenda Gu6, Kevin C. Weng4, Joe W. Gray4,6, Fanqing Frank Chen1,3,4 ✉

1. Zhejiang-California International Nanosystems Institute, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, Zhejiang 310029, China
2. Faculty of Science, Tanta University, Tanta 31527, Egypt
3. Life Sciences College, Fudan University, Shanghai 200433, China
4. Life Sciences Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, CA 94127, USA
5. Translational Medicine Center, Changzheng Hospital, The Second Military Medical University, 800 Xiangyin Road, Shanghai 200433, P.R. China.
6. Biomedical Engineering, OHSU Center for Spatial Systems Biomedicine, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, OR 97239, USA
* These two authors contributed equally.


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: Small interfering RNA, Nanoparticle, RNA interference, Delivery, Cancer, Virus.

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How to cite this article:
Draz MS, Fang BA, Zhang P, Hu Z, Gu S, Weng KC, Gray JW, Chen FF. Nanoparticle-Mediated Systemic Delivery of siRNA for Treatment of Cancers and Viral Infections. Theranostics 2014; 4(9):872-892. doi:10.7150/thno.9404. Available from