Using Azo Mechanophores to Target Focal Cancers

This cancer treatment material and approach is a less invasive, more targeted alternative for treating radiation-sensitive tumors. A novel mechanophore-containing hydrogel is deposited at the tumor site and high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) is used to locally generate cytotoxic reactive oxygen species (ROS) through an approach we call mechanochemical dynamic therapy (MDT). MDT dramatically decreases non-tumor cytotoxicity caused by conventional radiation treatments, which have to deliver damaging radiation through layers of healthy tissue to reach a tumor. Since HIFU can penetrate deep into and through tissues—including bone—MDT has the potential to significantly increase the number of tumors that are candidates for minimally invasive treatment. These combined features of targeted treatment (inaccessible through sonodynamic therapies) and the ability to treat deep-seated tumors (inaccessible through photodynamic therapy) makes MDT an extremely promising new approach for effective tumor treatment with minimal side effects.


  • Reduces side effects compared to photodynamic and sonodynamic therapies
  • Targets deep-seated tumors