Ultrasound-triggered drug delivery has been widely researched for its potential to improve the therapeutic efficacy of drugs. This paper presents drug release using hydrogel microbeads with release enhancer for efficient ultrasound-triggered drug delivery. By using a centrifuge-based microfluidic device, drug-model-encapsulating calcium alginate hydrogel microbeads containing tungsten particles with high acoustic impedance were fabricated. Because the tungsten particles work as release enhancer, the hydrogel microbeads become to have high sensitivity to ultrasound with localized variation in acoustic impedance so that the release rate of drug models improves. By applying ultrasound at 20 kHz to the hydrogel microbeads, the release of fluorescent silica nanoparticles that are a drug model for virus vectors, micelles, and proteins was tested. Importantly, the proposed hydrogel microbeads released the drug model even under a cavitation-suppressed environment. Furthermore, the additional coating on the hydrogel microbeads with poly-L-lysine enabled us to adjust the release rate of the drug model. The proposed ultrasound-triggered drug release system using release enhancer is expected to be an effective approach for expanding the varieties of applicable treatments using on-demand drug delivery systems.
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