Ultrasonic drug delivery a general review
Authors: William G Pitt; Ghaleb A Husseini; Bryant J Staples
Source: Expert Opinion on Drug Delivery, Volume 1, Number 1, 1 November 2004 , pp. 37-56(20)
Publisher: Informa Healthcare
Abstract:Ultrasound has an ever-increasing role in the delivery of therapeutic agents, including genetic material, protein and chemotherapeutic agents. Cavitating gas bodies, such as microbubbles, are the mediators through which the energy of relatively non-interactive pressure waves is concentrated to produce forces that permeabilise cell membranes and disrupt the vesicles that carry drugs. Thus, the presence of microbubbles enormously enhances ultrasonic delivery of genetic material, proteins and smaller chemical agents. Numerous reports show that the most efficient delivery of genetic material occurs in the presence of cavitating microbubbles. Attaching the DNA directly to the microbubbles, or to gas-containing liposomes, enhances gene uptake even further. Ultrasonic-enhanced gene delivery has been studied in various tissues, including cardiac, vascular, skeletal muscle, tumour and even fetal tissue. Ultrasonic-assisted delivery of proteins has found most application in transdermal transport of insulin. Cavitation events reversibly disrupt the structure of the stratus corneum to allow transport of these large molecules. Other hormones and small proteins could also be delivered transdermally. Small chemotherapeutic molecules are delivered in research settings from micelles and liposomes exposed to ultrasound. Cavitation appears to play two roles: it disrupts the structure of the carrier vesicle and releases the drug; and makes cell membranes and capillaries more permeable to drugs. There remains a need to better understand the physics of cavitation of microbubbles and the impact that such cavitation has on cells and drug-carrying vesicles.
Document Type: Review article
Publication date: 2004-11-01