Extending Drug Half-life
Dendrimers can protect drugs from degradation and clearance resulting in them lasting longer in the body. This may mean that an improved dosing regimen can be pursued, for example replacing a daily dose with a once weekly injection.
The half-life (t½) of a drug can be substantially enhanced by attaching it to a dendrimer construct. For example attaching the anticancer drug, methotrexate (MTX) to different members of a family of dendrimer constructs leads to a range of clearance rates in rats, ranging from 24 minutes (free MTX), to nearly 24 hours shown in this figure, and 50 hours in a related construct.
A comparable result was achieved with doxorubicin (DOX): a t½ of approximately 30 minutes for free DOX was extended to 34 hours for a DOX-dendrimer construct. The approach is applicable both to small molecules and biological therapeutics, for example it has been demonstrated for the biological agent, insulin.