Promising therapeutic and prophylactic effects have been achieved following advances in the gene therapy research arena, giving birth to the new generation of disease-modifying therapeutics. The greatest challenge that gene therapy vectors still face is the ability to deliver sufficient genetic payloads in order to enable efficient gene transfer into target cells. A wide variety of viral and non-viral gene therapy vectors have been developed and explored over the past 10. years, including carbon nanotubes. In this review we will address the application of carbon nanotubes as non-viral vectors in gene therapy with the aim to give a perspective on the past achievements, present challenges and future goals. A series of important topics concerning carbon nanotubes as gene therapy vectors will be addressed, including the benefits that carbon nanotubes offer over other non-viral delivery systems. Furthermore, a perspective is given on what the ideal genetic cargo to deliver using carbon nanotubes is and finally the geno-pharmacological impact of carbon nanotube-mediated gene therapy is discussed. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.