Cationic nanoemulsions as nucleic acids delivery systems

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Since the first clinical studies, knowledge in the field of gene therapy has advanced significantly, and these advances led to the development and subsequent approval of the first gene medicines. Although viral vectors-based products offer efficient gene expression, problems related to their safety and immune response have limited their clinical use. Thus, design and optimization of nonviral vectors is presented as a promising strategy in this scenario. Nonviral systems are nanotechnology-based products composed of polymers or lipids, which are usually biodegradable and biocompatible. Cationic liposomes are the most studied nonviral carriers and knowledge about these systems has greatly evolved, especially in understanding the role of phospholipids and cationic lipids. However, the search for efficient delivery systems aiming at gene therapy remains a challenge. In this context, cationic nanoemulsions have proved to be an interesting approach, as their ability to protect and efficiently deliver nucleic acids for diverse therapeutic applications has been demonstrated. This review focused on cationic nanoemulsions designed for gene therapy, providing an overview on their composition, physicochemical properties, and their efficacy on biological response in vitro and in vivo.

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