RNA therapeutics is an emerging field that holds immense promise for treating a wide range of diseases. RNA, or ribonucleic acid, is a molecule that plays a critical role in the process of gene expression. RNA therapeutics involves the use of synthetic RNA molecules to selectively regulate gene expression, with the goal of treating or curing diseases.

One of the key advantages of RNA therapeutics is that it offers a more precise and targeted approach to treating diseases. Unlike traditional small molecule drugs, which often have off-target effects and can cause unintended side effects, RNA therapeutics can be designed to selectively target specific genes or proteins.

It promises in treating a variety of diseases, including cancer, genetic disorders, and infectious diseases. For example, RNA-based therapies have been developed to treat certain types of cancer, such as acute myeloid leukemia, by inhibiting the production of specific proteins that contribute to the growth and survival of cancer cells. RNA therapeutics have also shown promise in treating genetic diseases such as cystic fibrosis and spinal muscular atrophy.

DNA Plasmids

DNA plasmids, which are circular DNA molecules that encode a therapeutic protein. Therapeutic proteins can be used to replace missing or defective proteins in the patient's body. DNA plasmids can be used in gene therapy, vaccination, and cell therapy. In order to work, the plasmid DNA must enter the cell and travel to the nucleus, where it is transcribed into mRNA that encodes the desired protein. An example of a pDNA drug called VM202 is described, which is in a Phase III clinical trial to assess its benefit in treating painful diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN). 

Viral vectors

Viral vectors are commonly used in RNA therapeutics to deliver RNA-based therapies to target cells. A viral vector is a modified virus that has been engineered to carry and deliver therapeutic RNA to the target cells in a patient's body. Viral vectors are attractive as delivery vehicles because they have evolved to efficiently enter and infect host cells, making them effective at delivering therapeutic RNA molecules including long-lasting therapeutic effects.

The process of using viral vectors in RNA therapeutics involves modifying the viral genome to remove its ability to cause disease and replacing it with the therapeutic RNA sequence. Once the modified virus is introduced to the patient, it infects the target cells and delivers the therapeutic RNA. Retroviruses, Adenoviruses, Adeno-associated viruses (AAVs), and Lentiviruses are the best examples. Each type of viral vector has its own advantages and limitations in terms of its ability to deliver RNA to different types of cells and tissues. Viral vectors can integrate the therapeutic RNA sequence into the genome of the target cells, allowing the cells to produce the therapeutic protein over an extended period of time. However, there are also potential drawbacks and limitations to the use of viral vectors in RNA therapeutics, including potential safety concerns and immune responses to the viral vectors themselves.


Aptamers are short, single-stranded RNA or DNA molecules that can bind to specific target molecules with high affinity and specificity. This property makes them an attractive candidate for therapeutic applications. Aptamers can be used as therapeutics by targeting a wide range of molecules, including proteins, nucleic acids, and small molecules.

The process of using aptamers as therapeutics involves selecting or designing an aptamer that can bind to the target molecule of interest. This can be done using a process called systematic evolution of ligands by exponential enrichment (SELEX), which involves iterative rounds of selection and amplification to identify the aptamer with the highest affinity and specificity for the target molecule.

Once an aptamer has been selected, it can be further modified to enhance its stability, half-life, and binding affinity. These modifications can include chemical modifications, conjugation to other molecules, or the addition of targeting moieties that enable specific delivery to the target cells or tissues.

Aptamers have several advantages over traditional small molecule drugs or antibodies. They are smaller in size, which allows for easier delivery and penetration of tissues. They also have a lower risk of immunogenicity or toxicity and can be produced more quickly and cost-effectively than antibodies. Its applications, including cancer treatment, thrombosis prevention, and antiviral therapies. For example, an aptamer called pegaptanib has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a leading cause of blindness in the elderly.


mRNA Therapeutics

mRNA, or messenger RNA, can be used as therapeutics in a variety of ways to treat or prevent disease. mRNA is a molecule that carries genetic information from DNA to the ribosome, where it is translated into a protein. By introducing synthetic mRNA molecules into cells or tissues, it is possible to induce the production of specific proteins within the body, providing a new approach to treating diseases.

One of the key advantages of mRNA-based therapeutics is their ability to be rapidly designed and produced. Once the genetic sequence of a target protein has been identified, a corresponding mRNA molecule can be synthesized in the laboratory and introduced into the patient's body. This process can be faster and more flexible than traditional drug development methods, which can take years to identify and optimize new drug candidates.

mRNA-based therapeutics can be used to target a wide range of diseases, including cancer, infectious diseases, and genetic disorders. For example, mRNA vaccines have been developed to prevent infectious diseases such as COVID-19 and influenza by inducing the production of viral proteins within the body, triggering an immune response to the virus. Another potential application of mRNA therapeutics is in the treatment of genetic disorders. By introducing mRNA molecules that encode missing or defective proteins, it is possible to restore normal protein function within the body. Scientists are working on diseases such as cystic fibrosis and muscular dystrophy.


The CRISPR-Cas9 system works by using a guide RNA molecule to direct the Cas9 enzyme to a specific DNA sequence within the genome. Once the Cas9 enzyme has bound to the target site, it can cut the DNA molecule, allowing for the insertion, deletion, or replacement of genetic material.

One potential application of CRISPR-Cas9 as a therapeutic is in the treatment of genetic disorders. By targeting the underlying genetic cause of a disease, it may be possible to cure or mitigate its effects. For example, in 2019, the FDA approved a gene therapy called Zolgensma, which uses CRISPR-Cas9 to treat spinal muscular atrophy, a rare genetic disorder that affects the muscles used for movement.

CRISPR-Cas9 also has potential as a cancer therapy. By targeting and modifying the genes that contribute to tumor growth and metastasis, it may be possible to develop more effective and targeted cancer treatments. Another potential application of CRISPR-Cas9 is in the development of disease-resistant crops and livestock. By modifying the DNA of agricultural species, it may be possible to create crops and animals that are more resilient to disease, pests, and environmental stressors.

Antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs)

Antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs), small interfering RNA (siRNA), and microRNA are all types of nucleic acid-based therapeutics that target specific genes or gene products within cells. ASOs are short synthetic strands of DNA or RNA that can bind to complementary mRNA molecules, blocking the production of specific proteins. This approach can be used to treat a wide range of diseases, including genetic disorders and viral infections.

Small Interfering RNA (siRNA)

siRNA molecules are also short strands of RNA that can bind to mRNA molecules, triggering their degradation and preventing the production of the corresponding protein. Like ASOs, siRNAs can be designed to target specific genes or gene products, making them a promising approach for the development of new therapies.


microRNAs are small RNA molecules that play a key role in regulating gene expression. By targeting specific microRNAs, it may be possible to modulate the expression of multiple genes and pathways within cells, providing a powerful tool for the treatment of complex diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disease by targeting specific genes or gene products, it is possible to achieve a high degree of selectivity and minimize off-target effects.

In addition to its potential as a treatment for diseases, RNA therapeutics also have the potential to be used in personalized medicine. By targeting specific genes or proteins, RNA therapeutics can be tailored to the individual needs of patients, potentially leading to more effective and personalized treatments.

As research in RNA therapeutics continues to advance, the future of this field looks limitless. Advances in RNA synthesis, delivery, and targeting will likely lead to new and more effective therapies for a wide range of diseases. The potential of RNA therapeutics to revolutionize medicine and improve human health is truly exciting, and we are only just beginning to scratch the surface of what is possible.