Localised drug release using MRI-controlled focused ultrasound hyperthermia

Robert Staruch, Rajiv Chopra, Kullervo Hynynen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

129 Scopus citations


Purpose: Thermosensitive liposomes provide a mechanism for triggering the local release of anticancer drugs, but this technology requires precise temperature control in targeted regions with minimal heating of surrounding tissue. The objective of this study was to evaluate the feasibility of using MRI-controlled focused ultrasound (FUS) and thermosensitive liposomes to achieve thermally mediated localised drug delivery in vivo. Materials and methods: Results are reported from ten rabbits, where a FUS beam was scanned in a circular trajectory to heat 10-15 mm diameter regions in normal thigh to 43°C for 20-30 min. MRI thermometry was used for closed-loop feedback control to achieve temporally and spatially uniform heating. Lyso-thermosensitive liposomal doxorubicin was infused intravenously during hyperthermia. Unabsorbed liposomes were flushed from the vasculature by saline perfusion 2 h later, and tissue samples were harvested from heated and unheated thigh regions. The fluorescence intensity of the homogenised samples was used to calculate the concentration of doxorubicin in tissue. Results: Closed-loop control of FUS heating using MRI thermometry achieved temperature distributions with mean, T90 and T10 of 42.9°C, 41.0°C and 44.8°C, respectively, over a period of 20 min. Doxorubicin concentrations were significantly higher in tissues sampled from heated than unheated regions of normal thigh muscle (8.3 versus 0.5 ng/mg, mean per-animal difference = 7.8 ng/mg, P < 0.05, Wilcoxon matched pairs signed rank test). Conclusions: The results show the potential of MRI-controlled focused ultrasound hyperthermia for enhanced local drug delivery with temperature-sensitive drug carriers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)156-171
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Hyperthermia
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2011


  • MRI thermometry
  • feedback control
  • heat targeted drug delivery
  • high intensity focused ultrasound
  • thermosensitive liposomes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Cancer Research


Dive into the research topics of 'Localised drug release using MRI-controlled focused ultrasound hyperthermia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this