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RNA interference approaches for treatment of HIV-1 infection.

  • Author(s): Bobbin, Maggie L
  • Burnett, John C
  • Rossi, John J
  • et al.
Abstract

HIV/AIDS is a chronic and debilitating disease that cannot be cured with current antiretroviral drugs. While combinatorial antiretroviral therapy (cART) can potently suppress HIV-1 replication and delay the onset of AIDS, viral mutagenesis often leads to viral escape from multiple drugs. In addition to the pharmacological agents that comprise cART drug cocktails, new biological therapeutics are reaching the clinic. These include gene-based therapies that utilize RNA interference (RNAi) to silence the expression of viral or host mRNA targets that are required for HIV-1 infection and/or replication. RNAi allows sequence-specific design to compensate for viral mutants and natural variants, thereby drastically expanding the number of therapeutic targets beyond the capabilities of cART. Recent advances in clinical and preclinical studies have demonstrated the promise of RNAi therapeutics, reinforcing the concept that RNAi-based agents might offer a safe, effective, and more durable approach for the treatment of HIV/AIDS. Nevertheless, there are challenges that must be overcome in order for RNAi therapeutics to reach their clinical potential. These include the refinement of strategies for delivery and to reduce the risk of mutational escape. In this review, we provide an overview of RNAi-based therapies for HIV-1, examine a variety of combinatorial RNAi strategies, and discuss approaches for ex vivo delivery and in vivo delivery.

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