Intracranial neoplasms are notoriously difficult to kill. Part of the problem lies in delivering chemo drugs to the brain, currently done by injecting the compounds into the blood stream with the hope that enough will cross and reach their targets before causing too much damage to the rest of the body. While chemo can be more effective in the rest of the body, the blood-brain barrier prevents the full force of chemotherapy from attacking intracranial tumors.
Now researchers from MIT, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Johns Hopkins University have reported in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that they developed tiny implantable capsules that can release chemo agents directly into the brain more safely and with greater therapeutic effect. The experiments, performed on laboratory mice, involved filling tiny liquid crystal polymer capsules with about 1.5 milliliters of either temozolomide or doxorubicin, commonly used chemotherapy drugs. These were implanted into mice with metastases in the brain. Comparing to identical mice that received injections of the drugs, the researchers found that temozolomide secreted by the capsules was significantly more effective than injections, while doxorubicin actually proved to be less so. The team was able to show that while temozolomide was able to move a good distance away from the implants, doxorubicin’s molecules didn’t travel very far before being removed by the body as trash.
Some of the next steps to bring this technology to clinical practice will involve identifying which chemo compounds would be most effective for such a delivery system, and moving forward to clinical trials in human patients.
Study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences: Intracranial microcapsule chemotherapy delivery for the localized treatment of rodent metastatic breast adenocarcinoma in the brain…