Albumin-based drug delivery: harnessing nature to cure disease

Mol Cell Ther. 2016 Feb 27:4:3. doi: 10.1186/s40591-016-0048-8. eCollection 2016.


The effectiveness of a drug is dependent on accumulation at the site of action at therapeutic levels, however, challenges such as rapid renal clearance, degradation or non-specific accumulation requires drug delivery enabling technologies. Albumin is a natural transport protein with multiple ligand binding sites, cellular receptor engagement, and a long circulatory half-life due to interaction with the recycling neonatal Fc receptor. Exploitation of these properties promotes albumin as an attractive candidate for half-life extension and targeted intracellular delivery of drugs attached by covalent conjugation, genetic fusions, association or ligand-mediated association. This review will give an overview of albumin-based products with focus on the natural biological properties and molecular interactions that can be harnessed for the design of a next-generation drug delivery platform.

Keywords: Albumin fusions; Albumin-binding; Drugs; Half-life extension; Human serum albumin (HSA); Intracellular delivery; Molecular medicine; Neonatal Fc receptor (FcRn); Targeted drug delivery.

Publication types

  • Review