Accounts of Materials Research
Amphiphilic Dendrimer Vectors for RNA Delivery: State-of-the-Art and Future Perspective
Jiaxuan Chen, Dandan Zhu, Xiaoxuan Liu, and Ling Peng
Dendrimers, a special family of polymers, are particularly promising materials for various biomedical applications by virtue of their well-defined dendritic structure and cooperative multivalency. Specifically, in this Account, we present state-of-the-art amphiphilic dendrimers for nucleic acid delivery.
Ribonucleic acid (RNA) molecules are fast becoming an important drug modality, particularly since the recent success of mRNA vaccines against COVID-19. Notably, RNA therapeutics offer the unique opportunity to treat diseases at the gene level and address “undruggable” targets. However, RNA therapeutics are not stable and have poor bioavailability, imposing the need for their protection and safe delivery by vectors to the sites-of-action to allow the desired therapeutic effects. Currently, the two most advanced nonviral vectors are based on lipids and polymers, with lipid vectors primarily exploiting the membrane-fusion mechanism and polymer vectors mainly endocytosis-mediated delivery. Notably, only lipid vectors have been advanced through to their clinical use in the delivery of, for example, the first siRNA drug and the first mRNA vaccine.
The success of lipid vectors for RNA delivery has motivated research for further innovative materials as delivery vectors. Specifically, we have pioneered lipid/dendrimer conjugates, referred to as amphiphilic dendrimers, for siRNA delivery with the view to harnessing the delivery advantages of both lipid and polymer vectors while enjoying the unique structural features of dendrimers. These amphiphilic dendrimer vectors are lipid/dendrimer hybrids and are thus able to mimic lipid vectors and exploit membrane-fusion-mediated delivery, while simultaneously retaining the multivalent properties of polymer vectors that allow endocytosis-based delivery. In addition, they have precisely controllable and stable nanosized chemical structures and offer nanotechnology-based delivery.
Effective amphiphilic dendrimer vectors share two important elements: chemical hydrophilic entities to bind RNA and RNA complex-stabilizing hydrophobicity. These two combined features allow the encapsulation of RNA within a stable complex before its release into the cytosol following endocytosis. This hydrophilic/hydrophobic balance permitted by the structural features of amphiphilic dendrimers plays a determining role in RNA delivery success.
In this Account, we provide a conceptual overview of this exciting field with the latest breakthroughs and key advances in the design of amphiphilic dendrimers for the delivery of siRNA and mRNA. Specifically, we start with a short introduction to siRNA- and mRNA-based therapeutics and their delivery challenges. We then outline the pioneering and representative studies on amphiphilic dendrimer vectors to highlight their historical development and promising features that offer to facilitate the once challenging RNA delivery. We conclude by offering perspectives for the future of amphiphilic dendrimer vectors for nucleic acid delivery in general.原文链接