Liposomal Compositions of Glucocorticoids in Anti-Cancer Therapies (LC200)

Barenholz Yechezkel, HUJI, School of Medicine - IMRIC, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Gabizon Alberto A, Shaare Zedek Medical Center

Delivery of chemically modified gluococorticoids (GC) into the tumor site by passive loading


Drug delivery for anticancer treatments, Glucocorticoids (GCs)

Development Stage

In vivo animal studies for anticancer therapy were performed




  • Glucocorticoids (GCs) are steroidal drugs widely used to suppress various allergic, inflammatory and autoimmune disorders as well as posttransplantory immunosuppressants. GCs are important components of many "cocktails" used in anti-cancer therapies.
  • A novel delivery system has been developed in order to overcome the  severe side effects of GCs and non-favorable pharmacokinetic,  The GCs are  encapsulating in a nano delivery system that passively targets to desired tissues with favorable pharmacokinetic.

The Innovation

  • The invention involves a nano-sterically stabilized liposomes (nSSL) technology for the delivery of GCs by passive targeting into the tumor site.
  • This invention is based on the finding that chemical modification of GCs  that  turn them into water soluble amphipathic weak acids steroids prodrugs enables highly effective remote  loading in the pegylated nano-liposomes referred to as nSSL-GC. Loading is done in a manner that enables a high drug level in each nano-liposome as well as above 90% loading efficiency and a controlled first order slow release.
  • Once released from the liposome, the acidic GC prodrug is hydrolyzed to the active GC drug.

Key Features

  • The invention take advantage on the "enhanced permeability and retention" (EPR) effect which  allows passive targeting of the nSSL-GC into the tumor site releasing the drug there. This resembles the mechanism of action of Doxil™ the first liposomal and nano-drug approved by the FDA as an anticancer drug in 1996.
  • The mechanism, where the drug delivery is performed in a non-active form that turns into the active form at the target site, enhances performance.
  • nSSL-GC formulations are stable for at least 14 months when stored refrigerated (36°F to 46°F; 2°C to 8°C)

Development Milestones

  • The therapeutic effect of the GC-liposomes was demonstrated in vivo on cancer and autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and  multiple sclerosis (MS) animal models. It was shown that GC-liposomes containing methylprednisolone hemisuccinate sodium salt (MPS) have a superior effect over currently clinically available drugs in reducing the clinical signs of cancer and survival, also compared to free MPS.

The Opportunity

  • Corticosteroids are mainly used in cancer therapy to reduce swelling, mostly used with other drugs.
  • Examples for GCs used as a part of cancer therapy are Dexamethasone, Hydrocortisone, Methylprednisolone, Prednisolone and Prednisone.

Patent Status

Granted US 8,932,627; China ZL 200580035942.2; India 250843; Israel 181795; Japan 5355890

Contact for more information:

Ariela Markel
VP, Business Development, Healthcare