The arrival of genetic engineering: strategies for delivery of nonviral plasmid DNA-based gene therapy

The delivery of a therapeutic gene inserted in a vector for somatic gene therapy holds great promise for the future. Encouraging results from the clinical trials of first-generation plasmid-based medicines/ vaccines have further validated the importance of molecular biology and biotechnology research. With newer developments in bioengineering for the mass production and purification of plasmid DNA, gene therapy using non-viral vectors offers opportunities for multiple therapeutic benefits in the healthcare industry. However, low therapeutic success rates due to inefficient delivery systems have blunted the success of gene therapy. This paper examines the status of plasmid DNA in the gene therapy clinical trials, challenges and advances in plasmid DNA based non-viral gene delivery through the different routes of administration, and focuses on the pulmonary route for aerosol gene delivery.