Theranostics 2014; 4(11):1133-1144. doi:10.7150/thno.9945

Short Research Communication

Ultrasound-Mediated Gene and Drug Delivery Using a Microbubble-Liposome Particle System

Young Il Yoon1,2,3*, Yong-Su Kwon4*, Hee-Sang Cho4, Sun-Hee Heo5, Kyeong Soon Park5, Sang Gyu Park5, Soo-Hong Lee5, Seung Il Hwang1,2, Young Il Kim1, Hwan Jun Jae1, Gook-Jun Ahn7, Young-Seok Cho8, Hakho Lee9✉, Hak Jong Lee1,2,3,10✉, Tae-Jong Yoon4 ✉

1. Department of Radiology, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul 110-799, South Korea;
2. Department of Radiology, Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, Seungnam 463-707, South Korea;
3. Program in Nano Science and Technology, Department of Transdisciplinary Studies, Seoul National University Graduate School of Convergence Science and Technology, Suwon 443-270, South Korea;
4. Department of Applied Bioscience, College of Life Science, CHA University, Pocheon 135-081, South Korea;
5. Department of Biomedical Science, College of Life Science, CHA University, Pocheon 135-081, South Korea;
6. Department of Radiology, Seoul National University Hospital, College of Medicine, Seoul 110-744, South Korea;
7. Laboratory animal center, KBIO Osong Medical Innovation Foundation, Osong, Cheongwon, Chungbuk 363-951, South Korea;
8. Department of Gastroenterology, Uijeongbu St. Mary's Hospital, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Uijeongbu 480-717, South Korea.
9. Center for Systems Biology, Massachusetts General Hospital, 185 Cambridge St, CPZN 5206, Boston, MA 02114, USA.
10. Nanoimaging and Therapy Research Center, Institute of Nanoconvergence, Advanced Institutes of Convergence Technology, Seoul National University.
*These authors contributed equally to this work.

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY-NC) License. See for full terms and conditions.
Yoon YI, Kwon YS, Cho HS, Heo SH, Park KS, Park SG, Lee SH, Hwang SI, Kim YI, Jae HJ, Ahn GJ, Cho YS, Lee H, Lee HJ, Yoon TJ. Ultrasound-Mediated Gene and Drug Delivery Using a Microbubble-Liposome Particle System. Theranostics 2014; 4(11):1133-1144. doi:10.7150/thno.9945. Available from

File import instruction


Theranostic agents present a promising clinical approach for cancer detection and treatment. We herein introduce a microbubble and liposome complex (MB-Lipo) developed for ultrasound (US) imaging and activation. The MB-Lipo particles have a hybrid structure consisting of a MB complexed with multiple Lipos. The MB components are used to generate high echo signals in US imaging, while the Lipos serve as a versatile carrier of therapeutic materials. MB-Lipo allows high contrast US imaging of tumor sites. More importantly, the application of high acoustic pressure bursts MBs, which releases therapeutic Lipos and further enhances their intracellular delivery through sonoporation effect. Both imaging and drug release could thus be achieved by a single US modality, enabling in situ treatment guided by real-time imaging. The MB-Lipo system was applied to specifically deliver anti-cancer drug and genes to tumor cells, which showed enhanced therapeutic effect. We also demonstrate the clinical potential of MB-Lipo by imaging and treating tumor in vivo.

Keywords: Microbubble, Liposome, Ultrasound imaging, Drug and gene delivery, Theranostics.