Pulmonary diseases offer many targets for oligonucleotide therapeutics. However, effective delivery of oligonucleotides to the lung is challenging. For example, splicing mutations in the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) affect a significant cohort of Cystic Fibrosis (CF) patients. These individuals could potentially benefit from treatment with splice switching oligonucleotides (SSOs) that can modulate splicing of CFTR and restore its activity. However, previous studies in cell culture used oligonucleotide transfection methods that cannot be safely translated in vivo. In this report, we demonstrate effective correction of a splicing mutation in the lung of a mouse model using SSOs. Moreover, we also demonstrate effective correction of a CFTR splicing mutation in a pre-clinical CF patient-derived cell model. We utilized a highly effective delivery strategy for oligonucleotides by combining peptide-morpholino (PPMO) SSOs with small molecules termed OECs. PPMOs distribute broadly into the lung and other tissues while OECs potentiate the effects of oligonucleotides by releasing them from endosomal entrapment. The combined PPMO plus OEC approach proved to be effective both in CF patient cells and in vivo in the mouse lung and thus may offer a path to the development of novel therapeutics for splicing mutations in CF and other lung diseases.
© The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research.