In response to last month’s groundbreaking preclinical research on focused ultrasound improving memory in Alzheimer’s published in Science Translational Medicine, Jessica Foley, PhD, the Foundation’s Chief Scientific Officer, and Steven T. DeKosky, MD, Chair of the Foundation’s Alzheimer’s Disease Steering Committee, co-published a Letter to the Editor.
The letter, which connects the Australian research to previous work using focused ultrasound and microbubbles to open the blood-brain barrier (BBB), emphasizes two important points.
These points include:
- Evidence from two separate laboratories using two different Alzheimer’s mouse models has demonstrated that focused ultrasound and microbubbles alone can open the BBB and reduce plaque burden, with no unwanted damage to brain tissue.
- A successful safety and feasibility study for opening the BBB in humans could provide the essential predicate for an Alzheimer’s clinical trial, and this study will soon begin at Sunnybrook in Toronto.
(1) STM’s online cover image: Bubbles, Beams, and Microglial Activation. Transient opening of the blood-brain barrier results in activation of microglial cells (yellow), which then start engulfing amyloid plaques (gray) in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease. Transient opening of the tight junctions of endothelial cells (red) that comprise the blood-brain barrier was induced by injected microbubbles and an ultrasound beam. From G. Leinenga, J. Götz, Scanning ultrasound removes amyloid-β and restores memory in an Alzheimer’s disease mouse model. Sci. Transl. Med. 7, 278ra33 (2015). Reprinted with permission from AAAS. CONCEPT NICK VALMAS, THE UNIVERSITY OF QUEENSLAND/ILLUSTRATION BY V. ALTOUNIAN/SCIENCE TRANSLATIONAL MEDICINE