Accelerating thrombolysis using a precision and clot-penetrating drug delivery strategy by nanoparticle-shelled microbubbles

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Science Advances  29 Jul 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 31, eaaz8204
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aaz8204


Conventional thrombolytic drugs for vascular blockage such as tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) are challenged by the low bioavailability, off-target side effects and limited penetration in thrombi, leading to delayed recanalization. We hypothesize that these challenges can be addressed with the targeted and controlled delivery of thrombolytic drugs or precision drug delivery. A porous and magnetic microbubble platform is developed to formulate tPA. This system can maintain the tPA activity during circulation, be magnetically guided to the thrombi, and then remotely activated for drug release. The ultrasound stimulation also improves the drug penetration into thrombi. In a mouse model of venous thrombosis, the residual thrombus decreased by 67.5% when compared to conventional injection of tPA. The penetration of tPA by ultrasound was up to several hundred micrometers in thrombi. This strategy not only improves the therapeutic efficacy but also accelerates the lytic rate, enabling it to be promising in time-critical thrombolytic therapy.

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