Enhanced retention of the alpha-particle-emitting daughters of Actinium-225 by liposome carriers

Bioconjug Chem. Nov-Dec 2007;18(6):2061-7. doi: 10.1021/bc070075t. Epub 2007 Oct 13.


Targeted alpha-particle emitters hold great promise as therapeutics for micrometastatic disease. Because of their high energy deposition and short range, tumor targeted alpha-particles can result in high cancer-cell killing with minimal normal-tissue irradiation. Actinium-225 is a potential generator for alpha-particle therapy: it decays with a 10-day half-life and generates three alpha-particle-emitting daughters. Retention of (225)Ac daughters at the target increases efficacy; escape and distribution throughout the body increases toxicity. During circulation, molecular carriers conjugated to (225)Ac cannot retain any of the daughters. We previously proposed liposomal encapsulation of (225)Ac to retain the daughters, whose retention was shown to be liposome-size dependent. However, daughter retention was lower than expected: 22% of theoretical maximum decreasing to 14%, partially due to the binding of (225)Ac to the phospholipid membrane. In this study, Multivesicular liposomes (MUVELs) composed of different phospholipids were developed to increase daughter retention. MUVELs are large liposomes with entrapped smaller lipid-vesicles containing (225)Ac. PEGylated MUVELs stably retained over time 98% of encapsulated (225)Ac. Retention of (213)Bi, the last daughter, was 31% of the theoretical maximum retention of (213)Bi for the liposome sizes studied. MUVELs were conjugated to an anti-HER2/neu antibody (immunolabeled MUVELs) and were evaluated in vitro with SKOV3-NMP2 ovarian cancer cells, exhibiting significant cellular internalization (83%). This work demonstrates that immunolabeled MUVELs might be able to deliver higher fractions of generated alpha-particles per targeted (225)Ac compared to the relative fractions of alpha-particles delivered by (225)Ac-labeled molecular carriers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Actinium / chemistry*
  • Alpha Particles*
  • Antibodies / immunology
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cryoelectron Microscopy
  • Humans
  • Liposomes / chemistry
  • Microscopy, Electron, Transmission


  • Antibodies
  • Liposomes
  • Actinium