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Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology
Volume 13 (1999), Issue 9, Pages 745-751

Making Sense of Antisense

Bruce R Yacyshyn1 and William R Shanahan Jr2

1Division of Gastroenterology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
2ISIS Pharmaceuticals, Inc, Carlsbad, California, USA

Received 22 June 1998; Accepted 4 November 1998

Copyright © 1999 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Since the identification of the DNA double-stranded helix, the gene as a target of therapy and, moreover, the use of DNA as a drug have been possibilities. ‘Antisense’ is used by some living organisms, specifically viruses, to control gene replication. Only recently, the use of antisense DNA as a mechanism to control human gene translation has been appreciated. A recent report on the use of systemically administered oligonucleotides in human Crohn’s disease is reviewed. DNA antisense oligonucleotides offer a technology capable of unique use at the laboratory bench as well as for highly specific therapeutic drugs. The conceptualization and possible future directions of these exciting compounds are reviewed.