The Use of Solid Supports to Generate Nucleic Acid Carriers

Asier Unciti-Broceta, Juan José Díaz-Mochón, Rosario M Sánchez-Martín, Mark Bradley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Nucleic acids are the foundation stone of all cellular processes. Consequently, the use of DNA or RNA to treat genetic and acquired disorders (so called gene therapy) offers enormous potential benefits. The restitution of defective genes or the suppression of malignant genes could target a range of diseases, including cancers, inherited diseases (cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy, etc.), and viral infections. However, this strategy has a major barrier: the size and charge of nucleic acids largely restricts their transit into eukaryotic cells. Potential strategies to solve this problem include the use of a variety of natural and synthetic nucleic acid carriers. Driven by the aim and ambition of translating this promising therapeutic approach into the clinic, researchers have been actively developing advanced delivery systems for nucleic acids for more than 20 years. A decade ago we began our investigations of solid-phase techniques to construct families of novel nucleic acid carriers for transfection. We envisaged that the solid-phase synthesis of polycationic dendrimers and derivatized polyamimes would offer distinct advantages over solution phase techniques. Notably in solid phase synthesis we could take advantage of mass action and streamlined purification procedures, while simplifying the handling of compounds with high polarities and plurality of functional groups. Parallel synthesis methods would also allow rapid access to libraries of compounds with improved purities and yields over comparable solution methodologies and facilitate the development of structure activity relationships. We also twisted the concept of the solid-phase support on its head: we devised miniaturized solid supports that provided an innovative cell delivery vehicle in their own right, carrying covalently conjugated cargos (biomolecules) into cells. In this Account, we summarize the main outcomes of this series of chemically related projects.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1140-1152
Number of pages13
JournalAccounts of Chemical Research
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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