Light Induces Opening of Vascular Barrier for Precise Nanoparticle Delivery

The endothelial barrier plays an essential role in health and disease by protecting organs from toxins while allowing nutrients to access the circulation. However, it is the major obstacle that limits the delivery of therapeutic drugs to the diseased tissue. Here, for the first time we show that near-infrared (NIR) laser pulses can transiently open the vascular barrier via photoacoustic force, enabling selective and substantial accumulation of nanoparticles inside specific tissues. The nanoparticle delivery in tumors by 10-minute laser scanning is ~6 times higher than that of the enhanced permeability and retention (EPR) effect in 24 hours under current experimental conditions. We further show substantial accumulation of nanoparticles in the mouse brain with intact skull through light-controlled opening of the blood-brain barrier (BBB). This approach opens a new door for tissue-specific delivery of nanomaterials with an unprecedented level of efficiency and precision.