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Review Article

Nano-Scale Gene Delivery Systems: Current Technology, Obstacles, and Future Directions

[ Vol. 25 , Issue. 21 ]


Antonio Garcia-Guerra, Thomas L. Dunwell and Sonia Trigueros*   Pages 2448 - 2464 ( 17 )


Within the different applications of nanomedicine currently being developed, nanogene delivery is appearing as an exciting new technique with the possibility to overcome recognised hurdles and several biological and medical needs. The central component of all delivery systems is the requirement for the delivery of genetic material into cells, and for them to eventually reside in the nucleus where their desired function will be exposed. However, genetic material does not passively enter cells; thus, a delivery system is necessary. The emerging field of nano-gene delivery exploits the use of new materials and the properties that arise at the nanometre-scale to produce delivery vectors that can effectively deliver genetic material into a variety of different types of cells. The novel physicochemical properties of the new delivery vectors can be used to address the current challenges existing in nucleic acid delivery in vitro and in vivo. While there is a growing interest in nanostructure-based gene delivery, the field is still in its infancy, and there is yet much to discover about nanostructures and their physicochemical properties in a biological context.

We carried out an organised and focused search of bibliographic databases. Our results suggest that despite new breakthroughs in nanostructure synthesis and advanced characterization techniques, we still face many barriers in producing highly efficient and non-toxic delivery systems. In this review, we overview the types of systems currently used for clinical and biomedical research applications along with their advantages and disadvantages, as well as discussing barriers that arise from nano-scale interactions with biological material.

In conclusion, we hope that by bringing the far reaching multidisciplinary nature of nano-gene delivery to light, new targeted nanotechnology-bases strategies are developed to overcome the major challenges covered in this review.


Gene delivery, transfection, gene therapy, nanotechnology, nano-gene delivery, biological therapy, biomedicine, nanomedicine.


Clarendon Laboratory, Department of Physics, University of Oxford, OX1 3PU, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, OX26GG Oxford, Clarendon Laboratory, Department of Physics, University of Oxford, OX1 3PU

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