Phospholipid Capped Mesoporous Nanoparticles for Targeted High Intensity Focused Ultrasound Ablation

Adem Yildirim, Rajarshi Chattaraj, Nicholas T. Blum, Dennis Shi, Kaushlendra Kumar, Andrew P. Goodwin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


The mechanical effects of cavitation can be effective for therapy but difficult to control, thus potentially leading to off-target side effects in patients. While administration of ultrasound active agents such as fluorocarbon microbubbles and nanodroplets can locally enhance the effects of high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU), it has been challenging to prepare ultrasound active agents that are small and stable enough to accumulate in tumors and internalize into cancer cells. Here, this paper reports the synthesis of 100 nm nanoparticle ultrasound agents based on phospholipid-coated, mesoporous, hydrophobically functionalized silica nanoparticles that can internalize into cancer cells and remain acoustically active. The ultrasound agents produce bubbles when subjected to short HIFU pulses (≈6 µs) with peak negative pressure as low as ≈7 MPa and at particle concentrations down to 12.5 µg mL−1 (7 × 109 particles mL−1). Importantly, ultrasound agents are effectively uptaken by cancer cells without cytotoxic effects, but HIFU insonation causes destruction of the cells by the acoustically generated bubbles, as demonstrated by (2,3-bis-(2-methoxy-4-nitro-5-sulfophenyl)-2H-tetrazolium-5-carboxanilide (XTT) and lactate dehydrogenase assays and flow cytometry. Finally, it is showed that the HIFU dose required to effectively eliminate cancer cells in the presence of ultrasound agents causes only a small temperature increase of ≈3.5 °C.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1700514
JournalAdvanced Healthcare Materials
Issue number18
StatePublished - Sep 20 2017
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Pharmaceutical Science


  • HIFU
  • cancer theranostics
  • mesoporous silica
  • surface science
  • ultrasound contrast agents


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