Protein-Coated Biodegradable Gas-Stabilizing Nanoparticles for Cancer Therapy and Diagnosis Using Focused Ultrasound

Sinan Sabuncu, Jose Montoya Mira, Arnaud Quentel, Michelle M. Gomes, Fehmi Civitci, Jared M. Fischer, Adem Yildirim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Surface-engineered hydrophobic nanoparticles that can stabilize small gas pockets on their surfaces (i.e., gas-stabilizing nanoparticles, GSNs) have been recently shown to be excellent contrast and cavitation agents for ultrasound theranostics. However, previously developed GSNs are not biodegradable, which limits their clinical translation potential. Here the development of biodegradable GSNs is shown by coating hydrophobically modified mesoporous silica nanoparticles with different protein solutions. It is found that these novel GSNs retain strong cavitation activity while rapidly degrading in simulated body fluid (SBF) or in vivo in days or a few weeks, respectively. Interestingly, GSNs coated with other stabilizing layers, Pluronic F127 polymer or phospholipids, demonstrated significantly slower degradation rates with only partial degradation even after a month of incubation in SBF. Next, it is shown that these biodegradable GSNs can be used to ablate tumor xenografts at lower ultrasound intensities, thus avoiding the side effects of high-intensity ultrasound. Finally, it is shown that only tumors treated with GSNs and ultrasound can specifically enrich for circulating tumor DNA, which will improve liquid biopsies for understanding tumor heterogeneity and treatment response. Overall, this study details a simple yet effective method for preparing biodegradable GSNs with broad potential for applications in cancer diagnosis and therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2201543
JournalAdvanced Materials Interfaces
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 17 2023


  • biodegradable nanoparticles
  • focused ultrasound
  • hydrophobic surface modification
  • liquid biopsy
  • mesoporous silica nanoparticles
  • tumor ablation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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