Comparison of Sonication Patterns and Microbubble Administration Strategies for Focused Ultrasound-Mediated Large-Volume Drug Delivery

Yan Gong, Dezhuang Ye, Chih Yen Chien, Yimei Yue, Hong Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Objective: Diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) is the most common and deadliest brainstem tumor in children. Focused ultrasound combined with microbubble-mediated BBB opening (FUS-BBBO) is a promising technique for overcoming the frequently intact blood-brain barrier (BBB) in DIPG to enhance therapeutic drug delivery to the brainstem. Since DIPG is highly diffusive, large-volume FUS-BBBO is needed to cover the entire tumor region. The objective of this study was to determine the optimal treatment strategy to achieve efficient and homogeneous large-volume BBBO at the brainstem for the delivery of an immune checkpoint inhibitor, anti-PD-L1 antibody (aPD-L1). Methods: Two critical parameters for large-volume FUS-BBBO, multi-point sonication pattern (interleaved vs. serial) and microbubble injection method (bolus vs. infusion), were evaluated by treating mice with four combinations of these two parameters. 2D Passive cavitation imaging (PCI) was performed for monitoring the large-volume sonication. Results: Interleaved sonication combined with bolus injection of microbubbles resulted in 1.29 to 2.06 folds higher efficiency than other strategies as evaluated by Evans blue extravasation. The average coefficient of variation of the Evans blue delivery was 0.66 for interleaved sonication with bolus injection, compared to 0.68-0.88 for all other strategies. Similar trend was also observed in the quantified total cavitation dose and coefficient of variance of the cavitation dose. This strategy was then applied to deliver fluorescently labeled aPD-L1 which was quantified using fluorescence imaging. A strong segmented linear correlation (R2 = 0.81) was found between the total cavitation dose and the total fluorescence intensity of aPD-L1 delivered at different sonication pressures (0.15 MPa, 0.30 MPa, and 0.45 MPa). Significance: Findings from this study suggest that efficient and homogeneous large-volume FUS-BBBO can be achieved by interleaved sonication combined with bolus injection of microbubbles, and the efficiency and homogeneity can be monitored by PCI.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3449-3459
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2022


  • Brainstem drug delivery
  • blood-brain barrier
  • focused ultrasound
  • immune checkpoint inhibitor
  • passive cavitation imaging


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