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RNAi and miRNA in viral infections and cancers.

  • Mollaie, Hamid Reza
  • Monavari, Seyed Hamid Reza
  • Arabzadeh, Seyed Ali Mohammad
  • Shamsi-Shahrabadi, Mahmoud
  • Fazlalipour, Mehdi
  • Afshar, Reza Malekpour
Published Article
Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention
Asian Pacific Organization for Cancer Prevention
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2013
PMID: 24460249


Since the first report of RNA interference (RNAi) less than a decade ago, this type of molecular intervention has been introduced to repress gene expression in vitro and also for in vivo studies in mammals. Understanding the mechanisms of action of synthetic small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) underlies use as therapeutic agents in the areas of cancer and viral infection. Recent studies have also promoted different theories about cell-specific targeting of siRNAs. Design and delivery strategies for successful treatment of human diseases are becomingmore established and relationships between miRNA and RNAi pathways have been revealed as virus-host cell interactions. Although both are well conserved in plants, invertebrates and mammals, there is also variabilityand a more complete understanding of differences will be needed for optimal application. RNA interference (RNAi) is rapid, cheap and selective in complex biological systems and has created new insight sin fields of cancer research, genetic disorders, virology and drug design. Our knowledge about the role of miRNAs and siRNAs pathways in virus-host cell interactions in virus infected cells is incomplete. There are different viral diseases but few antiviral drugs are available. For example, acyclovir for herpes viruses, alpha-interferon for hepatitis C and B viruses and anti-retroviral for HIV are accessible. Also cancer is obviously an important target for siRNA-based therapies, but the main problem in cancer therapy is targeting metastatic cells which spread from the original tumor. There are also other possible reservations and problems that might delay or even hinder siRNA-based therapies for the treatment of certain conditions; however, this remains the most promising approach for a wide range of diseases. Clearly, more studies must be done to allow efficient delivery and better understanding of unwanted side effects of siRNA-based therapies. In this review miRNA and RNAi biology, experimental design, anti-viral and anti-cancer effects are discussed.

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