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This article is the author’s final published version in Polymers, Volume 14, Issue 8, April 2022, Article number 1568.

The published version is available at Copyright © Patel et al.


Co-delivery of cancer therapeutics improves efficacy and encourages synergy, but delivery faces challenges, including multidrug resistance and spatiotemporal distribution of therapeutics. To address these, we added paclitaxel to previously developed acoustically labile, oxygen-core, surfactant-stabilized microbubbles encapsulating lonidamine, with the aim of developing an agent containing both a therapeutic gas and two drugs acting in combination. Upon comparison of unloaded, single-loaded, and dual-loaded microbubbles, size (~1.7 µm) and yield (~2 × 109 microbubbles/mL) (~1.7) were not statistically different, nor were acoustic properties (maximum in vitro enhancements roughly 18 dB, in vitro enhancements roughly 18 dB). Both drugs encapsulated above required doses calculated for head and neck squamous cell carcinoma, the cancer of choice. Interestingly, paclitaxel encapsulation efficiency increased from 1.66% to 3.48% when lonidamine was included. During preparation, the combination of single drug-loaded micelles gave higher encapsulation (µg drug/g microbubbles) than micelles loaded with either drug alone (lonidamine, 104.85 ± 22.87 vs. 87.54 ± 16.41), paclitaxel (187.35 ± 8.38 vs. 136.51 ± 30.66). In vivo intravenous microbubbles produced prompt ultrasound enhancement within tumors lasting 3-5 min, indicating penetration into tumor vasculature. The ability to locally destroy the microbubble within the tumor vasculature was confirmed using a series of higher intensity ultrasound pulses. This ability to locally destroy microbubbles shows therapeutic promise that warrants further investigation.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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