Recently, the use of ultrasound (US) has been shown to have potential in cancer immunotherapy. High intensity focused US destruction of tumors may lead to immunity forming in situ in the body by immune cells being exposed to the tumor debris and immune stimulatory substances that are present in the tumor remains.
Another way of achieving anti-cancer immune responses is by using US in combination with microbubbles and nanobubbles to deliver genes and antigens into cells. US leads to bubble destruction and the forces released to direct delivery of the substances into the cytoplasm of the cells thus circumventing the natural barriers. In this way tumor antigens and antigen-encoding genes can be delivered to immune cells and immune response stimulating genes can be delivered to cancer cells thus enhancing immune responses. Combination of bubbles with cell-targeting ligands and US provides an even more sophisticated delivery system whereby the therapy is not only site specific but also cell specific.
In this review we describe how US has been used to achieve immunity and discuss the potential and possible obstacles in future development.