Synthetic oligonucleotides: Useful molecules? A review.
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Specific inhibition of mammalian genes is possible through the use of antisense oligonucleotides (AS ODNs) or ribozymes. These strategies have led to a better understanding of several cellular and molecular mechanisms, among which cancer development. Recently, these strategies have been applied also for therapeutical purposes in diseases such as AIDS and cancer. In some of these therapeutical trials the antisense strategy is combined with gene transfer technology: the AS ODN or the ribozyme are expressed within the cell by the use of adenoviral or retroviral vectors. However, many difficulties have still to be overcome before ODNs and ribozymes can be used routinely in the clinic.
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