Acoustically active lipospheres containing paclitaxel: A new therapeutic ultrasound contrast agent

Evan C. Unger, Thomas P. McCreery, Robert H. Sweitzer, Veronica E. Caldwell, Yunqiu Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

263 Scopus citations


RATIONALE AND OBJECTIVES. Paclitaxel-carrying lipospheres (MRX-552) were developed and evaluated as a new ultrasound contrast agent for chemotherapeutic drug delivery. METHODS. Paclitaxel was suspended in soybean oil and added to an aqueous suspension of phospholipids in vials. The headspace of the vials was replaced with perfluorobutane gas; the vials were sealed, and they were agitated at 4200 rpm on a shaking device. The resulting lipospheres containing paclitaxel were studied for concentration, size, acute toxicity in mice, and acoustic activity and drug release with ultrasound. Lipospheres containing sudan black dye were produced to demonstrate the acoustically active liposphere (AAL)-ultrasound release concept. RESULTS. Acoustically active lipospheres containing paclitaxel had a mean particle count of approximately 1 x 109 particles per mL and a mean size of 2.9 microns. Acute toxicity studies in mice showed a 10-fold reduction in toxicity for paclitaxel in AALs compared with free paclitaxel. The AALs reflected ultrasound as a contrast agent. Increasing amounts of ultrasound energy selectively ruptured the AALs and released the paclitaxel. CONCLUSIONS. Acoustically active lipospheres represent a new class of acoustically active drug delivery vehicles. Future studies will assess efficacy of AALs for ultrasound-mediated drug delivery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)886-892
Number of pages7
JournalInvestigative Radiology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1998


  • Contrast agent
  • Drug delivery
  • Paclitaxel
  • Ultrasound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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