Ultrasound-Mediated Drug Delivery With a Clinical Ultrasound System: In Vitro Evaluation

Josanne S. de Maar, Charis Rousou, Benjamin van Elburg, Hendrik J. Vos, Guillaume P.R. Lajoinie, Clemens Bos, Chrit T.W. Moonen, Roel Deckers*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
67 Downloads (Pure)


Chemotherapy efficacy is often reduced by insufficient drug uptake in tumor cells. The combination of ultrasound and microbubbles (USMB) has been shown to improve drug delivery and to enhance the efficacy of several drugs in vitro and in vivo, through effects collectively known as sonopermeation. However, clinical translation of USMB therapy is hampered by the large variety of (non-clinical) US set-ups and US parameters that are used in these studies, which are not easily translated to clinical practice. In order to facilitate clinical translation, the aim of this study was to prove that USMB therapy using a clinical ultrasound system (Philips iU22) in combination with clinically approved microbubbles (SonoVue) leads to efficient in vitro sonopermeation. To this end, we measured the efficacy of USMB therapy for different US probes (S5-1, C5-1 and C9-4) and US parameters in FaDu cells. The US probe with the lowest central frequency (i.e. 1.6 MHz for S5-1) showed the highest USMB-induced intracellular uptake of the fluorescent dye SYTOX™ Green (SG). These SG uptake levels were comparable to or even higher than those obtained with a custom-built US system with optimized US parameters. Moreover, USMB therapy with both the clinical and the custom-built US system increased the cytotoxicity of the hydrophilic drug bleomycin. Our results demonstrate that a clinical US system can be used to perform USMB therapy as efficiently as a single-element transducer set-up with optimized US parameters. Therefore, future trials could be based on these clinical US systems, including validated US parameters, in order to accelerate successful translation of USMB therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number768436
JournalFrontiers in pharmacology
Publication statusPublished - 19 Oct 2021


  • chemotherapy
  • drug delivery
  • imaging
  • microbubbles
  • sonopermeation
  • sonoporation
  • ultrasound
  • USMB


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