How Focused Ultrasound Helps Drugs Reach Brain Tumors


After extended preclinical work, the focused ultrasound community has demonstrated that focused ultrasound technology in combination with microbubbles can robustly disrupt the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and allow a range of potent anticancer drugs and biological agents to cross the BBB and blood-tumor barrier (BTB) and more effectively treat brain tumors.

Now, an international research team led by Costas Arvanitis, PhD, at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Rakesh Jain, PhD, at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School has begun to elucidate the mechanisms behind the phenomenon. Their findings were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

In “Mechanisms of enhanced drug delivery in brain metastases with focused ultrasound-induced blood-tumor barrier disruption,” the authors used quantitative microscopy and mathematical modeling to understand the mechanisms involved in this application (e.g., interstitial convective transport). Their discoveries and computational tools may assist in the optimization and development of novel therapeutic strategies for treating intracranial malignancies. “Together, our work provides a unified framework for prospective, quantitative, and mechanistic investigation of the penetration of anticancer drugs across the BBB/BTB in brain tumors,” said Dr Arvanitis.

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Read the Georgia Tech Press Release >
Read the Massachusettes General Hospital Press Release >