The combination of focused ultrasound plus microbubbles or nanobubbles is allowing scientists to reach previously inaccessible parts of the brain and spinal cord. Can gene therapy stop or slow brain tumor development? If nerve growth factor reaches the spinal cord, could it repair damaged neurons? Finally, brain mapping with low-intensity focused ultrasound is the subject of a new study from the University of Virginia.

researchroundupAngiogenesis-targeting Microbubbles Combined with Ultrasound-Mediated Gene Therapy in Brain Tumors
Researchers in Taiwan evaluated the use of focused ultrasound to deliver gene therapy in a brain tumor model and found a 3.8-fold higher level of expression when compared with other delivery methods. See the Journal of Controlled Release.

Nerve Growth Factor Delivery by Ultrasound-mediated Nanobubble Destruction as a Treatment for Acute Spinal Cord Injury in Rats
In China, scientists combined focused ultrasound with nanobubbles to deliver nerve growth factor in a rat model of spinal cord injury. Results included significantly increased gene expression, attenuated histological injury, decreased neuron loss, and inhibited neuronal apoptosis. See the International Journal of Nanomedicine.

Noninvasive Neuromodulation and Thalamic Mapping with Low-Intensity Focused Ultrasound
In a feasibility study, the team at the University of Virginia describes their use of low-intensity focused ultrasound for neuromodulation and selective thalamus mapping in a swine model. One finding was that the ventromedial thalamic nucleus could be inhibited without affecting the ventrolateral side. See the Journal of Neurosurgery.

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