Macrophages as Drug Delivery Carriers for Acoustic Phase-Change Droplets

Ching Hsiang Fan, Ya Hsuan Lee, Yi Ju Ho, Chung Hsin Wang, Shih Tsung Kang, Chih Kuang Yeh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


The major challenges in treating malignant tumors are transport of therapeutic agents to hypoxic regions and real-time assessment of successful drug release via medical imaging modalities. In this study, we propose the use of macrophages (RAW 264.7 cells) as carriers of drug-loaded phase-change droplets to penetrate ischemic or hypoxic regions within tumors. The droplets consist of perfluoropentane, lipid and the chemotherapeutic drug doxorubicin (DOX, DOX-droplets). The efficiency of DOX-droplet uptake, migration mobility and viability of DOX-droplet-loaded macrophages (DLMs) were measured using a transmembrane cell migration assay, the alamarBlue assay and flow cytometric analysis, respectively. Our results indicate the feasibility of utilizing macrophages as DOX-droplet carriers (DOX payload of DOX-droplets: 459.3 ± 35.8 µg/mL, efficiency of cell uptake DOX-droplets: 88.8 ± 3.5%). The migration mobility (total number of migrated microphages) of DLMs decreased to 32.3% compared with that of healthy macrophages, but the DLMs provided contrast-enhanced ultrasound imaging (1.7-fold enhancement) and anti-tumor effect (70.9% cell viability) after acoustic droplet vaporization, suggesting the potential theranostic applications of DLMs. Future work will assess the tumor penetration ability of DLMs, mechanical effect of droplet vaporization on in vivo anti-tumor therapy and the release of the carried drug by ultrasound-triggered vaporization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1468-1481
Number of pages14
JournalUltrasound in Medicine and Biology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Jul

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Biophysics
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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