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Dendrimers in gene delivery

Dufès, Christine and Uchegbu, Ijeoma F. and Schätzlein, Andreas G. (2005) Dendrimers in gene delivery. Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews, 57 (15). pp. 2177-2202. ISSN 0169-409X

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Dendrimers have unique molecular architectures and properties that make them attractive materials for the development of nanomedicines. Key properties such as defined architecture and a high ratio of multivalent surface moieties to molecular volume also make these nanoscaled materials highly interesting for the development of synthetic (non-viral) vectors for therapeutic nucleic acids. Rational development of such vectors requires the link to be made between dendrimer structure and the morphology and physicochemistry of the respective nucleic acid complexes and, furthermore, to the biological performance of these systems at the cellular and systemic level. The review focuses on the current understanding of the role of dendrimers in those aspects of synthetic vector development. Dendrimer-based transfection agents have become routine tools for many molecular and cell biologists but therapeutic delivery of nucleic acids remains a challenge.