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Aug 29, 2013
 |  BC Innovations  |  Targets & Mechanisms

Going stromal with docetaxel

Abraxane nab-paclitaxel is the model example of how an old microtubule-stabilizing chemotherapy can be revitalized through a new nanoparticle formulation. Now, Ontario Institute for Cancer Research scientists have developed glycopolymer-conjugated docetaxel nanoparticles that outperform Abraxane in mouse models of breast cancer.1

The Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR) is backing the program with $1.5 million to take it to the clinic. The expectation is that the product's ability to target the tumor stroma rather than the tumor itself will differentiate it from Abraxane and other chemotherapeutic formulations.

The toxicity of the tubulin-stabilizing cancer chemotherapeutics paclitaxel and docetaxel has led numerous companies to attempt to develop new versions with better safety profiles that enable their use at higher and thus more efficacious doses.

The poster child for these efforts is Celgene Corp.'s Abraxane, which is marketed to treat metastatic breast cancer and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and is under review in the U.S. to treat metastatic pancreatic cancer.

Abraxane consists of albumin-bound paclitaxel that is assembled into nanoparticles. This permits its delivery at higher doses without the use of toxic solvents, and its nanoparticle formulation leads to higher accumulation in tumor tissue.

Other next-generation paclitaxel formulations in clinical development include NanoCarrier Co. Ltd.'s NK-105, a liposomal formulation that is in Phase III testing to treat breast cancer, and Cell Therapeutics Inc.'s Opaxio paclitaxel poliglumex, a formulation of paclitaxel covalently linked to a polyglutamate polymer that is in Phase III trials to treat ovarian...

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