High intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) operated in thermal mode has been reported to reduce interstitial fluid pressure and improve the penetration of large macromolecules and nanoparticles in tumor and normal tissue. Little is understood about how the interstitial fluid pressure and velocity as well as the interstitial macromolecule transport are affected by HIFU exposure. A mathematical model is presented here which sheds light on the initial biophysical changes brought about HIFU. Our continuum model treats tissue as an effective poro-elastic material that reacts to elevated temperatures with a rapid drop in interstitial elastic modulus. Using parameters from the literature, the model is extrapolated to derive information on the effect in tumors, and to predict its impact on the convective and diffusive transport of macromolecular drugs. The model is first solved using an analytical approximation with step-wise changes at each boundary, and then solved numerically starting from a Gaussian beam approximation of the ultrasound treatment. Our results indicate that HIFU causes a rapid drop in interstitial fluid pressure that may be exploited to facilitate convection of macromolecules from vasculature to the exposed region. However, following a short recovery period in which the interstitial fluid pressure is normalized, transport returns to normal and the advantages disappear over time. The results indicate that this effect is strongest for the delivery of large molecules and nanoparticles that are in the circulation at the time of treatment. The model may be easily applied to more complex situations involving effects on vascular permeability and diffusion.
- drug delivery
- focused ultrasound
- tissue transport
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
- Radiological and Ultrasound Technology