Improved drug delivery for solid tumors

A novel formulation paving the way for pancreatic cancer therapeutics


Pancreatic cancer therapeutics have a success rate of less than 8%. The solid nature of the tumor in pancreatic cancer renders the current standard of care, chemotherapy drugs, less effective. Unfortunately, the problem lies not with the drugs themselves, but with the drug delivery methods used to carry the drug to the tumor site. Available drug delivery systems are not able to deliver enough drug into the tumor mass. Attaching albumin to drugs is an emerging solution and  has been demonstrated to increase payload at tumor sites. However, current formulations for drug-albumin binding are non-specific, resulting in reduced efficacy of the treatment and instead causing adverse side effects. There remains a critical, unmet need to develop better approaches that successfully bind drugs to albumin. This approach can increase the drug accumulation at the tumor sites and improve the overall success of pancreatic cancer therapeutics.


Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a novel albumin-drug formulation that ensures complete drug-albumin binding prior to drug delivery.1 With this new formulation, the amount of freely circulating drug molecules that cause cytotoxic side effects is minimized. The researchers were also able to maintain the architectural integrity of the albumin so that its inherent drug delivery properties were not compromised. Most notably, this new formulation demonstrates higher accumulation at tumor sites compared to other drug-albumin counterparts in mouse models of human pancreatic cancer. This resulted in longer-lasting tumor regression, higher antitumor efficacy, and increased overall survival rates in industry accepted mouse models. This novel drug-albumin formulation can improve the outcomes for pancreatic cancer patients.


1. Xinquan Liu, et al. Controlled loading of albumin-drug conjugates ex vivo for enhanced drug delivery and antitumor efficacy. Journal of Controlled Release. 2020; 328: 1-12.