Somat Cell Mol Genet 2002 Nov;27(1-6):17-25
Chemical Engineering, Wills Neuroscience Institute, University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, California 94720-1462, USA.
Synthetic gene delivery vehicles are a highly promising approach to gene delivery; however, several problems must still be overcome before they can begin to enjoy dinical success. A number of these problems can be addressed by engineering and optimizing the properties of the vector surface, the component of the particle that interacts and "communicates" with tissues and cells during the delivery process. Surfaces must be engineered to satisfy two ostensibly conflicting constraints: the ability to interact specifically with a target cell while avoiding nonspecific protein interactions, particularly with components of the immune system. We summarize progress that has been made in both these areas and discuss several approaches where the intersection of biological and chemical solutions promises to significantly advance the engineering of synthetic vehicles.