There is increasing progress in translational oncology and tremendous breakthroughs have been made as evidenced by preclinical and clinical trials. Data obtained from high-throughput technologies are deepening our understanding about the molecular and gene network in cancer cells and rapidly emerging in vitro and in vivo evidence is highlighting the role of antisense agents as specific inhibitors of the expression of target genes, thus modulating the response of cancer cells to different therapeutic strategies. Much information is continuously being added into various facets of molecular oncology and it is now understood that overexpression of antiapoptotic proteins, oncogenes, oncogenic microRNAs (miRNA), and fusion proteins make cancer cells difficult to target. Delivery of antisense oligonucleotides has remained a challenge and technological developments have helped in overcoming hurdles by improving the ability to penetrate cells, effective and targeted binding to gene sequences, and downregulation of target gene function. Different delivery systems, including stable nucleic acid lipid particles, have shown potential in enhancing the delivery of cargo to the target site. In this review, we attempt to summarize the current progress in the development of antisense therapeutics and their potential in medical research. We partition this multicomponent review into introductory aspects about recent breakthroughs in antisense therapeutics. We also discuss how antisense therapeutics have shown potential in resensitizing resistant cancer cells to apoptosis by targeted inhibition of antiapoptotic proteins, oncogenic miRNAs, and BCR-ABL.
KEYWORDS: antisense oligonucleotide, siRNA, miRNA, liposomes, DNAzymes, antisense therapy.