State-of-the-art materials for ultrasound-triggered drug delivery

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Ultrasound is a unique and exciting theranostic modality that can be used to track drug carriers, trigger drug release and improve drug deposition with high spatial precision. In this review, we briefly describe the mechanisms of interaction between drug carriers and ultrasound waves, including cavitation, streaming and hyperthermia, and how those interactions can promote drug release and tissue uptake. We then discuss the rational design of some state-of-the-art materials for ultrasound-triggered drug delivery and review recent progress for each drug carrier, focusing on the delivery of chemotherapeutic agents such as doxorubicin. These materials include nanocarrier formulations, such as liposomes and micelles, designed specifically for ultrasound-triggered drug release, as well as microbubbles, microbubble-nanocarrier hybrids, microbubble-seeded hydrogels and phase-change agents.

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