1 Division of Molecular and Cellular Medicine, National Cancer Center Research Institute, Tokyo, 104-0045, Japan2 Division of Respiratory Diseases, Department of Internal Medicine, Jikei University School of Medicine, Tokyo, 105-8461, Japan
RNA interference (RNAi) is rapidly becoming an important method for analyzing gene functions in many eukaryotes and holds promise for the development of therapeutic gene silencing. The induction of RNAi relies on small silencing RNAs, which affect specific messenger RNA (mRNA) degradation. Two types of small RNA molecules, i.e. small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) and microRNAs (miRNAs), are central to RNAi. Drug discovery studies and novel treatments of siRNAs are currently targeting a wide range of diseases, including various viral infections and cancers. Lung diseases in general are attractive targets for siRNA therapeutics because of their lethality and prevalence. In addition, the lung is anatomically accessible to therapeutic agents via the intrapulmonary route. Recently, increasing evidence indicates that miRNAs play an important role in lung abnormalities, such as inflammation and oncogenesis. Therefore, miRNAs are being targeted for therapeutic purposes. In this review, we present strategies for RNAi delivery and discuss the current state-of-the-art RNAi-based therapeutics for various lung diseases.
RNAi; siRNA; miRNA; drug delivery system; lung diseases; lung cancer