Abraxane was recognized by the National Cancer Institute to be the first nanoparticle-based drug approved for use by the FDA. Abraxane is a Nanoparticle Albumin-Bound (NAB) drug delivery vehicle attached to the breast cancer drug Paclitaxel. Albumin is a water-soluble simple protein found in the tissue and fluids of most plants and animals. The albumin is bound to the Paclitaxel nanoparticle by hydrophobic properties, and dissolves in the blood stream upon intravenous injection. The nanoparticles attach to the GP60 receptors that are attached to the endothelial lining of lymph and blood vessels; delivering its drug payload to the cancerous node. The caveolae—tiny caverns less than 150 nanometers in diameter along the endothelial cell walls—allow the drug nanoparticle attached to the receptor to enter the cell and treat the cancer. Abraxane is used to treat metastatic breast carcinoma, and can be used in the delivery of non-small cell lung cancer drugs.
This product enhances the delivery rate of Paclitaxel by 33% for breast cancer that has failed to respond to chemotherapy or for patients who have relapsed within six months of chemotherapy.
Albumin is a biocompatible, biodegradable, non-toxic and non-immunogenic protein that is found naturally in plants and animals. The risk lies inherently in the drugs being delivered and any respective side effects. Additionally, some environmental risk lies in the disposal and bioaccumulation of the drugs bound to the albumin as they are thrown away or passed through the body’s waste systems.