Targeted delivery of CRISPR/Cas9 to prostate cancer by modified gRNA using a flexible aptamer-cationic liposome.

PMID 28030843


The potent ability of CRISPR/Cas9 system to inhibit the expression of targeted gene is being exploited as a new class of therapeutics for a variety of diseases. However, the efficient and safe delivery of CRISPR/Cas9 into specific cell populations is still the principal challenge in the clinical development of CRISPR/Cas9 therapeutics. In this study, a flexible aptamer-liposome-CRISPR/Cas9 chimera was designed to combine efficient delivery and increased flexibility. Our chimera incorporated an RNA aptamer that specifically binds prostate cancer cells expressing the prostate-specific membrane antigen as a ligand. Cationic liposomes were linked to aptamers by the post-insertion method and were used to deliver therapeutic CRISPR/Cas9 that target the survival gene, polo-like kinase 1, in tumor cells. We demonstrate that the aptamer-liposome-CRISPR/Cas9 chimeras had a significant cell-type binding specificity and a remarkable gene silencing effect in vitro. Furthermore, silencing promoted a conspicuous regression of prostate cancer in vivo. Importantly, the approach described here provides a universal means of cell type-specific CRISPR/Cas9 delivery, which is a critical goal for the widespread therapeutic applicability of CRISPR/Cas9 or other nucleic acid drugs.