RNA repair or reprogramming is a new avenue for human gene therapy. Unlike conventional gene therapy, in which exogenous cDNAs are introduced into cells, RNA repair approaches, which are based on spliceosome-mediated pre-mRNA trans-splicing, trans-splicing ribozymes, and tRNA-splicing endonuclease, allow the correction of endogenous RNA species. Recently published accounts that in vivo phenotypic correction of a variety of inherited diseases can be achieved by RNA repair are encouraging. Nevertheless, the science of RNA repair for treatment of human diseases is just beginning and faces several scientific and technical challenges that must be addressed and surmounted. In this review, we summarize recent advances in spliceosome-mediated pre-mRNA trans-splicing. We also provide an update on the progress of this emerging technology toward the development of molecular therapy and diagnosis for human diseases and discuss the outstanding issues and challenges confronting RNA therapeutics. Copyright © The American Society of Gene Therapy.
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