One of the known functions of serum albumin is the binding and transport of various molecules in the blood circulation, including fatty acids, bilirubin, hormones, metal ions and other endogenous and exogenous compounds with widely differing properties. Among other substances, various drugs are known to bind to one of two main high affinity sites in albumin. It is also a very soluble protein, stable at pH ranging from 4 to 9 and at temperatures over 60° C., and available in high purity at a reasonable cost. These properties, and especially the natural affinity of a great number of therapeutic drugs to the protein, suggest that albumin may be used as a versatile carrier protein for various applications in the clinic. The covalent conjugation of Poly-(ethylene glycol) (PEG) to albumin, named PEGylation, was first described in 1977, and PEGylated albumin hydrogels for drug delivery applications were previously described in the literature. However, in these cases the release rate from the hydrogels was dominated by Fickian diffusion and not controlled by the specific affinity of the various drugs examined to albumin. The developed technology is a hydrogel system comprising polymer-conjugated albumin molecules for controlled release delivery of therapeutic agents. The polymer is a functionalized synthetic polymer, preferably PEG-diacrylate, and the polymer-conjugated albumin is preferably mono-PEGylated albumin. The hydrogel system may comprise a matrix to which the polymer-conjugated albumin molecules are linked via a functional group of the polymer. The matrix may be formed from the same polymer of the polymer-albumin conjugate.
- Controlled release delivery of therapeutic agents
Applications and Opportunities
- Treating various diseases