Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: August 15, 2005
Publication Date: October 2, 2006
Citation: Liu, L.S., Kramer, W.H., Fishman, M.L., Hicks, K.B. 2006. Construction of gene delivery systems from biodegradable polysaccharides. Book Chapter In: "Chemistry as Art" Editors: L. Liu and G. E. Zaikov ISBN: 1-59454-585-5 p. 1-23. Technical Abstract: Gene therapy for the treatment and prevention of diseases on a genetic level is still in its infancy. One of the major challenges in using gene therapy is finding efficient, safe and stable ways to introduce genes into target cells. Although a whole panel of viral and non-viral vectors is available to introduce genetic materials into cells, a major drawback of most vectors is safety, lack of target cell specificity and low gene transfer efficiency. At present, the in vivo gene expression levels for polysaccharide-derived gene vectors are lower than for viral vectors and for some synthetic polymer-gene vectors. However, polysaccharide-derived gene vectors present several critical advantages over other vectors, such as safety, low immunogenicity, capability to deliver large genes and large-scale production at low-cost. Thus, polysaccharide-gene vectors are preferred and have attracted increasing attention in the development of gene delivery technology. In this review paper, research on the construction of polysaccharide-derived gene delivery vectors and the recent research trials about the controlled release of plasmid DNA are briefly discussed. The paper places emphasis on the principle of polysaccharide-DNA vector preparation and occurring technical challenges. Based on recent achievements and existing obstacles, novel strategies are suggested to improve the transfection efficiency of polysaccharide-gene delivery vectors.