Theranostics 2019; 9(26):8138-8154. doi:10.7150/thno.36762

Research Paper

Bubble-Manipulated Local Drug Release from a Smart Thermosensitive Cerasome for Dual-Mode Imaging Guided Tumor Chemo-Photothermal Therapy

Suhui Sun1*, Sujuan Sun2*, Yan Sun1, Ping Wang1, Jianlun Zhang1, Wenjing Du1, Shumin Wang1,2✉, Xiaolong Liang1✉

1. Department of Ultrasound, Peking University Third Hospital, Beijing, China
2. Ordos Center Hospital, Ordos 017000, Inner Mongolia, China
*These authors contributed equally

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( See for full terms and conditions.
Sun S, Sun S, Sun Y, Wang P, Zhang J, Du W, Wang S, Liang X. Bubble-Manipulated Local Drug Release from a Smart Thermosensitive Cerasome for Dual-Mode Imaging Guided Tumor Chemo-Photothermal Therapy. Theranostics 2019; 9(26):8138-8154. doi:10.7150/thno.36762. Available from

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Thermosensitive liposomes have demonstrated great potential for tumor-specific chemotherapy. Near infrared (NIR) dyes loaded liposomes have also shown improved photothermal effect in cancer theranostics. However, the instability of liposomes often causes premature release of drugs or dyes, impeding their antitumor efficacy. Herein, we fabricated a highly stable thermo-responsive bubble-generating liposomal nanohybrid cerasome with a silicate framework, combined with a NIR dye to achieve NIR light stimulated, tumor-specific, chemo-photothermal synergistic therapy.

Methods: In this system, NIR dye of 1,1'-Dioctadecyl-3,3,3',3'- Tetramethylindotricarbocyanine iodide (DiR) with long carbon chains was self-assembled with a cerasome-forming lipid (CFL) to encapsulate ammonium bicarbonate (ABC), which was further used for actively loading doxorubicin (DOX), affording a thermosensitive and photosensitive DOX-DiR@cerasome (ABC).

Results: The resulting cerasome could disperse well in different media. Upon NIR light mediated thermal effect, ABC was decomposed to generate CO2 bubbles, resulting in a permeable channel in the cerasome bilayer that significantly enhanced DOX release. After intravenous injection into tumor-bearing mice, DOX-DiR@cerasome (ABC) could be efficiently accumulated at the tumor tissue, as monitored by DiR fluorescence, lasting for more than 5 days. NIR light irradiation was then performed at 36h to locally heat the tumors, resulting in immediate CO2 bubble generation, which could be clearly detected by ultrasound imaging, facilitating the monitoring process of controlled release of the drug. Significant antitumor efficacy could be obtained for the DOX-DiR@cerasome (ABC) + laser group, which was further confirmed by tumor tissue histological analysis.

Keywords: controlled drug release, combined therapy, cerasome, liposome, bubble responsive