Ultrasound and Microbubble Guided Drug Delivery: Mechanistic Understanding and Clinical Implications
Tzu-Yin Wang, Katheryne E. Wilson, Steven Machtaler and Jurgen K. Willmann
Affiliation: Department of Radiology and Molecular Imaging Program at Stanford, School of Medicine, Stanford University, 300 Pasteur Drive, Room H1307, Stanford, CA 94305-5621, USA.
Ultrasound mediated drug delivery using microbubbles is a safe and noninvasive approach for spatially localized
drug administration. This approach can create temporary and reversible openings on cellular membranes and vessel
walls (a process called "sonoporation"), allowing for enhanced transport of therapeutic agents across these natural barriers.
It is generally believed that the sonoporation process is highly associated with the energetic cavitation activities (volumetric
expansion, contraction, fragmentation, and collapse) of the microbubble. However, a thorough understanding of the
process was unavailable until recently. Important progress on the mechanistic understanding of sonoporation and the corresponding
physiological responses in vitro and in vivo has been made. Specifically, recent research shed light on the cavitation
process of microbubbles and fluid motion during insonation of ultrasound, on the spatio-temporal interactions between
microbubbles and cells or vessel walls, as well as on the temporal course of the subsequent biological effects. These
findings have significant clinical implications on the development of optimal treatment strategies for effective drug delivery.
In this article, current progress in the mechanistic understanding of ultrasound and microbubble mediated drug delivery
and its implications for clinical translation is discussed.
Keywords: Contrast agents, Drug delivery, Microbubbles, Sonoporation, Therapy, Ultrasound.
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