Antisense oligonucleotides as therapeutic agents--is the bullet really magical?

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Science  20 Aug 1993:
Vol. 261, Issue 5124, pp. 1004-1012
DOI: 10.1126/science.8351515


Because of the specificity of Watson-Crick base pairing, attempts are now being made to use oligodeoxynucleotides (oligos) in the therapy of human disease. However, for a successful outcome, the oligo must meet at least six criteria: (i) the oligos can be synthesized easily and in bulk; (ii) the oligos must be stable in vivo; (iii) the oligos must be able to enter the target cell; (iv) the oligos must be retained by the target cell; (v) the oligos must be able to interact with their cellular targets; and (vi) the oligos should not interact in a non-sequence-specific manner with other macromolecules. Phosphorothioate oligos are examples of oligos that are being considered for clinical therapeutic trials and meet some, but not all, of these criteria. The potential use of phosphorothioate oligos as inhibitors of viral replication is highlighted.

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