Recent advances in the generation, purification and cellular delivery of RNA have enabled development of RNA-based therapeutics for a broad array of applications. RNA therapeutics comprise a rapidly expanding category of drugs that will change the standard of care for many diseases and actualize personalized medicine. These drugs are cost effective, relatively simple to manufacture, and can target previously undruggable pathways. It is a disruptive therapeutic technology, as small biotech startups, as well as academic groups, can rapidly develop new and personalized RNA constructs. In this review we discuss general concepts of different classes of RNA-based therapeutics, including antisense oligonucleotides, aptamers, small interfering RNAs, microRNAs, and messenger RNA. Furthermore, we provide an overview of the RNA-based therapies that are currently being evaluated in clinical trials or have already received regulatory approval. The challenges and advantages associated with use of RNA-based drugs are also discussed along with various approaches for RNA delivery. In addition, we introduce a new concept of hospital-based RNA therapeutics and share our experience with establishing such a platform at Houston Methodist Hospital.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number628137
JournalFrontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology
StatePublished - Mar 18 2021


  • RNA therapeutics
  • delivery of RNA therapeutics
  • hospital-based RNA therapeutics
  • messenger RNAs (mRNAs)
  • self-amplifying mRNA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Histology
  • Biomedical Engineering


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