How can elimination of therapeutics from the bloodstream or their early enzymatic degradation be avoided in systemic delivery? Chinese scientists have new developed a method to bind an established cancer therapeutic, floxuridine, with natural serum albumin for its transport and delivery to target cancer cells. In the journal Angewandte Chemie, the authors demonstrate the automated synthesis of a conjugated floxuridine polymer, its successful transport and delivery, and its efficiency in stopping tumor growth.
How can we get a drug to its target? Despite much progress in nanocarrier research, the problem is still persistent, especially in cancer therapy. During transport in the bloodstream, the anticancer drugs may interfere with healthy cells, or they may be degraded by enzymes or eliminated from the body before entering the tumor tissue. Envisaging a natural and safe carrier system, Weihong Tan and colleagues at Hunan University, China, and the University of Florida, USA, chose endogeneous serum albumin as a possible nanotransporter. To ensure binding of the antimetabolite floxuridine to albumin, they had to modify it.
Floxuridine is a fluorinated pyrimidine nucleoside and antimetabolite, which inhibits the enzymes of DNA synthesis. Its oligomer, an oligonucleotide of 10 units, is even more efficient and is actively
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