Gene delivery using cationic liposomes

Sarah E. McNeil, Yvonne Perrie*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The development of cationic liposomes for gene delivery has been ongoing for almost 20 years; however, despite extensive efforts to develop a successful therapeutic agent, there has been limited progress towards generating an effective pharmaceutical product. Since the introduction of N-(1-[2,3-dioley-loxy]propyl)-N,N,N-trimethylammonium chloride, an immense number of different cationic lipids have been synthesised and used to formulate cationic liposome - DNA complexes. Structural modification of the cationic lipids and the addition of components within the delivery system that can facilitate the fusion, cellular uptake and targeting of liposome - DNA complexes have all been used in a bid to enhance their transfection efficiency. Unfortunately, the overall impact of these improvements is still nominal, with the vast majority of clinical trials (∼ 85%) continuing to rely on more potent viral delivery of DNA despite their associated toxicity issues. Key characteristics of the most effective cationic liposomes for the delivery of plasmid DNA (from a consensus of the literature) is identified here and the problems of converting these attributes into an effective pharmaceutical product are outlined. © 2006 Informa UK Ltd.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1371-1382
Number of pages12
JournalExpert Opinion on Therapeutic Patents
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2006


  • cationic lipids
  • cationic liposomes
  • gene delivery
  • gene therapy
  • non-viral delivery system


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