The process of in vivo siRNA delivery using targeted siRNA-polymer conjugates. Components highlighted in red are thought to be the most significant constituent for that particular step.
A series of amphiphilic, biodegradable polypeptide copolymers were prepared for the delivery of siRNA (short interfering ribonucleic acid). The molecular weight (or polymer chain length) of the linear polymer was controlled by reaction stoichiometry for the 11.5, 17.2, and 24.6 kDa polypeptides, and the highest molecular weight polypeptide was prepared using a sequential addition method to obtain a polypeptide having a molecular weight of 38.6 kDa. These polymers were used to prepare polymer conjugate systems designed to target and deliver an apolipoprotein B (ApoB) siRNA to hepatocyte cells and to help delineate the effect of polymer molecular weight or polymer chain length on siRNA delivery in vivo. A clear trend in increasing potency was found with increasing molecular weight of the polymers examined (at a constant polymer:siRNA (w/w) ratio), with minimal toxicity found. Furthermore, the biodegradability of these polymer conjugates was examined and demonstrates the potential of these systems as siRNA delivery vectors.