Lipid Nanoparticle-Delivered Chemically Modified mRNA Restores Chloride Secretion in Cystic Fibrosis

Ema Robinson, Kelvin Macdonald, Kai Slaughter, Madison McKinney, Siddharth Patel, Conroy Sun, Gaurav Sahay

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    31 Scopus citations


    The promise of gene therapy for the treatment of cystic fibrosis has yet to be fully clinically realized despite years of effort toward correcting the underlying genetic defect in the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR). mRNA therapy via nanoparticle delivery represents a powerful technology for the transfer of genetic material to cells with large, widespread populations, such as airway epithelia. We deployed a clinically relevant lipid-based nanoparticle (LNP) for packaging and delivery of large chemically modified CFTR mRNA (cmCFTR) to patient-derived bronchial epithelial cells, resulting in an increase in membrane-localized CFTR and rescue of its primary function as a chloride channel. Furthermore, nasal application of LNP-cmCFTR restored CFTR-mediated chloride secretion to conductive airway epithelia in CFTR knockout mice for at least 14 days. On day 3 post-transfection, CFTR activity peaked, recovering up to 55% of the net chloride efflux characteristic of healthy mice. This magnitude of response is superior to liposomal CFTR DNA delivery and is comparable with outcomes observed in the currently approved drug ivacaftor. LNP-cmRNA-based systems represent a powerful platform technology for correction of cystic fibrosis and other monogenic disorders. The use of lipid nanoparticles to deliver therapeutic mRNA is an increasingly attractive gene therapy modality. Here, Robinson et al. demonstrate that lipid nanoparticle transfection of mRNA can repair the central defect in cystic fibrosis, chloride transport, both in vitro and in vivo. The authors discuss why this technology is a promising treatment option for monogenic disorders such as cystic fibrosis.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    JournalMolecular Therapy
    StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018


    • cystic fibrosis
    • gene therapy
    • ion transport
    • mRNA therapeutics
    • nanoparticles
    • nasal potential difference

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Molecular Medicine
    • Molecular Biology
    • Genetics
    • Pharmacology
    • Drug Discovery

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