Everything you need to know about what RNAi is, how it works and how it could soon change the way we treat all sorts of diseases.

A new wave of therapies based on RNA interference is on the brink of making it to the market. A technology that was awarded the Nobel prize in 2006, RNAi could be used to target virtually any gene of the human genome that’s causing disease to stop his expression. Thus unlocking molecular targets that were inaccesible before.

Sanofi and Alnylam Therapeutics are starting discussions with the FDA in the US and the EMA in Europe to approve what could be the first commercial RNAi therapy, patisiran. And Silence Therapeutics could follow shortly afterward, leading the way for a new class of drugs that can treat the so far untreatable.

But what is RNAi therapy? How does it work? What are the main challenges to make it work? And what does patisiran, the drug at the forefront of this new wave, do exactly?

All the answers to these and more questions about RNAi, in this awesome infographic.


Etienne Raimondeau just completed his PhD in Biochemistry & Structural Biology at EMBL. When not pipetting, he enjoys communicating science through illustrations! You can find more of his work here.


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