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Galactose-targeted delivery of macromolecules and drug conjugates to asialoglycoprotein receptor (ASGPR) positive cells has been widely documented in animals, although targeting in humans has never been demonstrated. In this study we report the pharmacokinetics and imaging determined in the first patient enrolled in a phase I clinical study of the poly[N-(2-hydroxypropyl)methacrylamide] copolymer bearing doxorubicin and galactosamine, known as PK2. Gradient high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) evaluation of plasma and urine has been combined with 123I-based imaging to show biphasic clearance of the drug from the plasma (half-lives of 78+/-1 and 990+/-15), and approximately 30% delivery of the drug to the hepatic region, as determined by planar whole body imaging at 24 h. This patient has a multifocal hepatoma, and single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) analysis showed a ratio of tumour tissue to normal liver uptake of approximately 1:3, at 24 h. On the basis of this patient, effective hepatic targeting can be achieved following an intravenous dose of 20 mg/m2 doxorubicin as PK2, however the therapeutic usefulness of this targeted drug has yet to be established.

Original publication




Journal article


J Control Release

Publication Date





281 - 290


Antibiotics, Antineoplastic, Biotransformation, Carcinoma, Hepatocellular, Daunorubicin, Drug Carriers, Galactosamine, Humans, Iodine Radioisotopes, Liver Neoplasms, Male, Polymethacrylic Acids, Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon, Whole-Body Counting