High frequency acoustic waves, analogous to ultrasound, can enhance the delivery of therapeutic compounds into cells. The compounds delivered may be chemotherapeutic drugs, antibiotics, photodynamic drugs or gene therapies. The therapeutic compounds are administered systemically, or preferably locally to the targeted site. Local delivery can be accomplished through a needle, cannula, or through a variety of vascular catheters, depending on the location of routes of access. To enhance the systemic or local delivery of the therapeutic compounds, high frequency acoustic waves are generated locally near the target site, and preferably near the site of compound administration. The acoustic waves are produced via laser radiation interaction with an absorbing media and can be produced via thermoelastic expansion, thermodynamic vaporization, material ablation, or plasma formation. Acoustic waves have the effect of temporarily permeabilizing the membranes of local cells, increasing the diffusion of the therapeutic compound into the cells, allowing for decreased total body dosages, decreased side effects, and enabling new therapies.
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. W-7405-ENG-48 between the United States Department of Energy and the University of California for the operation of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.