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Drug Discov Today. 2001 Jan 1;6(1):44-51.

Folate-mediated targeting: from diagnostics to drug and gene delivery.

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Endocyte Pharmaceuticals, 1205 Kent Avenue, 47906, West Lafayette, IN, USA


The covalent attachment of the vitamin folic acid to almost any molecule yields a conjugate that can be endocytosed into folate receptor-bearing cells. Because folate receptors are significantly overexpressed in the majority of human cancers, this methodology is currently being investigated for the selective delivery of imaging and therapeutic agents to tumor tissue. Phase I and II clinical studies for the first folate-containing imaging agent were initiated in 1999, and clinical trials of folate-targeted therapeutic agents should soon follow. This review will summarize folate-mediated drug delivery and highlight those techniques undergoing active preclinical or clinical investigation.

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