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Journal of Drug Delivery
Volume 2012, Article ID 767839, 20 pages
Review Article

PLGA Nanoparticles for Ultrasound-Mediated Gene Delivery to Solid Tumors

1Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Texas Medical Branch, 301 University Boulevard, Galveston, TX 77555, USA
2Department of Neuroscience and Cell Biology, Department of Anesthesiology, and Center for Biomedical Engineering, University of Texas Medical Branch, 301 University Boulevard, Galveston, TX 77555, USA

Received 8 October 2011; Accepted 26 November 2011

Academic Editor: Rassoul Dinarvand

Copyright © 2012 Marxa Figueiredo and Rinat Esenaliev. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This paper focuses on novel approaches in the field of nanotechnology-based carriers utilizing ultrasound stimuli as a means to spatially target gene delivery in vivo, using nanoparticles made with either poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) or other polymers. We specifically discuss the potential for gene delivery by particles that are echogenic (amenable to destruction by ultrasound) composed either of polymers (PLGA, polystyrene) or other contrast agent materials (Optison, SonoVue microbubbles). The use of ultrasound is an efficient tool to further enhance gene delivery by PLGA or other echogenic particles in vivo. Echogenic PLGA nanoparticles are an attractive strategy for ultrasound-mediated gene delivery since this polymer is currently approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for drug delivery and diagnostics in cancer, cardiovascular disease, and also other applications such as vaccines and tissue engineering. This paper will review recent successes and the potential of applying PLGA nanoparticles for gene delivery, which include (a) echogenic PLGA used with ultrasound to enhance local gene delivery in tumors or muscle and (b) PLGA nanoparticles currently under development, which could benefit in the future from ultrasound-enhanced tumor targeted gene delivery.