Ultrasound-mediated drug delivery by gas bubbles generated from a chemical reaction

Sungmun Lee, Leena Al-Kaabi, Aurélie Mawart, Ahsan Khandoker, Habiba Alsafar, Herbert F. Jelinek, Kinda Khalaf, Ji Ho Park, Yeu Chun Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Highly echogenic and ultrasound-responsive microbubbles such as nitrogen and perfluorocarbons have been exploited as ultrasound-mediated drug carriers. Here, we propose an innovative method for drug delivery using microbubbles generated from a chemical reaction. In a novel drug delivery system, luminol encapsulated in folate-conjugated bovine serum albumin nanoparticles (Fol-BSAN) can generate nitrogen gas (N2) by chemical reaction when it reacts with hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), one of reactive oxygen species (ROS). ROS plays an important role in the initiation and progression of cancer and elevated ROS have been observed in cancer cells both in vitro and in vivo. High-intensity focussed ultrasound (HIFU) is used to burst the N2 microbubbles, causing site-specific delivery of anticancer drugs such as methotrexate. In this research, the drug delivery system was optimised by using water-soluble luminol and Mobil Composition of Matter-41 (MCM-41), a mesoporous material, so that the delivery system was sensitive to micromolar concentrations of H2O2. HIFU increased the drug release from Fol-BSAN by 52.9 ± 2.9% in 10 minutes. The cytotoxicity of methotrexate was enhanced when methotrexate is delivered to MDA-MB-231, a metastatic human breast cancer cell line, using Fol-BSAN with HIFU. We anticipate numerous applications of chemically generated microbubbles for ultrasound-mediated drug delivery.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)172-181
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Drug Targeting
Issue number2
Early online date17 Jul 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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