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J Drug Target. 2008 Aug;16(7):605-10. doi: 10.1080/10611860802229978.

Bioavailability and therapeutic efficacy of HER2 scFv-targeted liposomal doxorubicin in a murine model of HER2-overexpressing breast cancer.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.


Drugs that are entrapped in the interior of nanocarriers such as liposomes have no therapeutic activity, i.e. they are not bioavailable. In order to achieve therapeutic activity, drug release from the liposomes must occur at a rate sufficient to achieve therapeutic concentrations of drug at the cellular target. For ligand-targeted liposomes, directed against internalizing antigens, receptor-mediated internalization of the liposome package occurs and the entrapped drugs become active (bioavailable) upon their intracellular release from the lysosomal apparatus. We have examined, in a murine breast cancer model, the rate and the extent of bioavailability of doxorubicin (DXR) entrapped in liposomes targeted by a single-chain antibody fragment against the HER2/neu antigen, in comparison with free DXR and non-targeted liposomal DXR (DOXIL). Breast cancer tumors contained the highest total levels of DXR and the highest levels of bioavailable DXR when anti-HER2/neu-targeted liposomes were used, and the targeted liposomes also resulted in the greatest level of tumor control.

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