The clinical success of gene therapy is critically dependent on the development of efficient and safe gene delivery reagents, popularly known as “Transfection Vectors”. The transfection vectors commonly used in gene therapy are mainly of two types: viral and non-viral. The efficiencies of viral transfection vectors are, in general, superior to their non-viral counterparts. However, the myriads of potentially adverse immunogenic aftermaths associated with the use of viral vectors are increasingly making the non-viral gene delivery reagents as the vectors of choice. Among the existing arsenal of non-viral gene delivery reagents, the distinct advantanges associated with the use of cationic transfection lipids include their: (a) robust manufacture; (b) ease in handling & preparation techniques; (c) ability to inject large lipid:DNA complexes and (d) low immunogenic response. The present review will highlight the successes, set-backs, challenges and future promises of cationic transfection lipids in non-viral gene therapy.
Keywords: cationic lipids, gene therapy, targeted gene delivery, systemic delivery, lipoplexes
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