A big reason that brain tumors are as deadly as they are is the inability of meds to penetrate the blood-brain barrier. Various methods have been tried to open up access for chemotherapy into the brain, but we’re finally seeing something that’s quite promising. Following a tiny study on four patients we reported on a couple years ago, clinicians in Paris, France have successfully tested an ultrasound implant from on a much larger patient group to see how well it’s tolerated.
The researchers successfully used the SonoCloud system from Carthera, a Paris firm, to repeatedly open up the blood-brain barrier by producing pulses of ultrasound targeting the brain. Using magnetic resonance imaging coupled with a microbubble contrast agent allowed the investigators to see how well the technique worked and to identify which acoustic pressure levels are optimal for keeping the barrier open. They were not able to spot any negative side effects in the patients on either the MRI scans or clinical exams. It seems like the technique should be ready for a more comprehensive trial testing how delivery of medication actually impacts clinical outcomes.
Here’s a quick animation explaining the process:
Study in Science Translational Medicine: Clinical trial of blood-brain barrier disruption by pulsed ultrasound…