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Open Badges Review

Delivery of gene silencing agents for breast cancer therapy

Haifa Shen12*, Vivek Mittal23, Mauro Ferrari14 and Jenny Chang45*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Nanomedicine, The Methodist Hospital Research Institute, Houston, Texas 77030, USA

2 Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, New York 10065, USA

3 Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, New York 10065, USA

4 Department of Medicine, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, New York 10065, USA

5 The Methodist Cancer Center, Houston, Texas 77030, USA

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Breast Cancer Research 2013, 15:205  doi:10.1186/bcr3413

Published: 8 May 2013


The discovery of RNA interference has opened the door for the development of a new class of cancer therapeutics. Small inhibitory RNA oligos are being designed to specifically suppress expression of proteins that are traditionally considered nondruggable, and microRNAs are being evaluated to exert broad control of gene expression for inhibition of tumor growth. Since most naked molecules are not optimized for in vivo applications, the gene silencing agents need to be packaged into delivery vehicles in order to reach the target tissues as their destinations. Thus, the selection of the right delivery vehicles serves as a crucial step in the development of cancer therapeutics. The current review summarizes the status of gene silencing agents in breast cancer and recent development of candidate cancer drugs in clinical trials. Nanotechnology-based delivery vectors for the formulation and packaging of gene silencing agents are also described.