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Theranostics. 2014 Feb 12;4(4):432-44. doi: 10.7150/thno.8074. eCollection 2014.

Combining microbubbles and ultrasound for drug delivery to brain tumors: current progress and overview.

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1. Department of Electrical Engineering, Chang-Gung University, 259 Wen-Hwa 1st Road, Kuei-Shan, Tao-Yuan, Taiwan 33302.
2. Department of Biomedical Engineering and Environmental Sciences, National Tsing Hua University, No. 101, Section 2, Kuang-Fu Road, Hsinchu, Taiwan 30013.


Malignant glioma is one of the most challenging central nervous system (CNS) diseases, which is typically associated with high rates of recurrence and mortality. Current surgical debulking combined with radiation or chemotherapy has failed to control tumor progression or improve glioma patient survival. Microbubbles (MBs) originally serve as contrast agents in diagnostic ultrasound but have recently attracted considerable attention for therapeutic application in enhancing blood-tissue permeability for drug delivery. MB-facilitated focused ultrasound (FUS) has already been confirmed to enhance CNS-blood permeability by temporally opening the blood-brain barrier (BBB), thus has potential to enhance delivery of various kinds of therapeutic agents into brain tumors. Here we review the current preclinical studies which demonstrate the reports by using FUS with MB-facilitated drug delivery technology in brain tumor treatment. In addition, we review newly developed multifunctional theranostic MBs for FUS-induced BBB opening for brain tumor therapy.


Microbubbles; blood-brain barrier; brain tumor; chemotherapy; focused ultrasound

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