The Role of Ultrasound-Driven Microbubble Dynamics in Drug Delivery: From Microbubble Fundamentals to Clinical Translation

Silke Roovers, Tim Segers, Guillaume Lajoinie, Joke Deprez, Michel Versluis, Stefaan C. De Smedt, Ine Lentacker* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

146 Citations (Scopus)
83 Downloads (Pure)


In the last couple of decades, ultrasound-driven microbubbles have proven excellent candidates for local drug delivery applications. Besides being useful drug carriers, microbubbles have demonstrated the ability to enhance cell and tissue permeability and, as a consequence, drug uptake herein. Notwithstanding the large amount of evidence for their therapeutic efficacy, open issues remain. Because of the vast number of ultrasound-and microbubble-related parameters that can be altered and the variability in different models, the translation from basic research to (pre)clinical studies has been hindered. This review aims at connecting the knowledge gained from fundamental microbubble studies to the therapeutic efficacy seen in in vitro and in vivo studies, with an emphasis on a better understanding of the response of a microbubble upon exposure to ultrasound and its interaction with cells and tissues. More specifically, we address the acoustic settings and microbubble-related parameters (i.e., bubble size and physicochemistry of the bubble shell) that play a key role in microbubble-cell interactions and in the associated therapeutic outcome. Additionally, new techniques that may provide additional control over the treatment, such as monodisperse microbubble formulations, tunable ultrasound scanners, and cavitation detection techniques, are discussed. An in-depth understanding of the aspects presented in this work could eventually lead the way to more efficient and tailored microbubble-assisted ultrasound therapy in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10173-10191
Number of pages19
Issue number31
Early online date17 Jan 2019
Publication statusPublished - 6 Aug 2019


  • UT-Hybrid-D
  • 22/4 OA procedure


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