A novel nested liposome drug delivery vehicle capable of ultrasound triggered release of its payload


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Abstract

The use of focused ultrasound can be an effective method to locally highlight tumor tissue and specifically trigger the activation of echogenic drug delivery vehicles in an effort to reduce systemic chemotherapy side effects. Here we demonstrate a unique ultrasound triggered vehicle design and fabrication method where the payload and a perfluorocarbon gas microbubble are both encapsulated within the internal aqueous space of a liposome. This nested lipid shell geometry both stabilized the microbubble and ensured it was spatially close enough to interact with the liposome membrane at all times. The internal microbubble was shown to fragment the outer liposome membrane upon exposure to ultrasound at intensities of 1–1.5 MPa. The focused ultrasound allowed the release of the internal payload to localized regions within tissue phantoms. The vehicles showed high payload loading efficiency of 16%, stability in blood of several hours, and low level macrophage recognition in vitro. High speed fluorescent videos present the first optical images of such vehicles interacting with ultrasound. This ability to open the outer membrane in small regions of deep tissue could provide a second level of spatial and temporal control beyond biochemical targeting, making these particles promising for in vivo animal studies.Graphical abstractNovel liposome drug carriers containing both an echogenic microbubble and a therapeutic payload were synthesized. Focused ultrasound interacts with the internal microbubble and ruptures the liposome membrane releasing the contents.

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