In their article "Ultrasound Opens the Brain to Promising Drugs," MIT Technology Review reports on early clinical trial findings using ultrasound to open the blood-brain barrier (BBB) in patients with recurrent glioblastoma. The study is designed to open the BBB, protective layer of tightly joined cells that lines the blood vessels in the brain, temporarily to deliver chemotheraphy drugs to the tumor in significant concentrations. The interim results of the study were published in Science Translational Medicine.
"The procedure works by first injecting microbubbles into the bloodstream and then using a device implanted near patients’ tumors to send ultrasonic soundwaves into the brain, exciting the bubbles. The physical pressure of the bubbles pushing on the cells temporarily opens the blood-brain barrier, letting an injected drug cross into the brain."
The same journal published results from another focused ultrasound study last year, where researchers in Australia used ultrasound to improve memory in mice with Alzheimer's. Read more >