Can focused ultrasound release chemotherapy from nanoparticles to attack and kill ovarian cancer cells? Can symptoms that cause chronic migraines be alleviated using focused ultrasound? Can focused ultrasound be used to help stroke patients recover? The three applications found in this month’s roundup — ovarian cancer, migraines, and stroke — are all in the initial stages of focused ultrasound research but advances are being made around the world in each of these novel areas.
An Experimental Study of Ovarian Cancer Imaging and Therapy by Paclitaxel-loaded Phase-transformation Lipid Nanoparticles Combined with Low-intensity Focused Ultrasound
Researchers in China investigated whether chemotherapy-loaded, phase-transformation nanoparticles could serve as an effective ultrasound contrast agent while killing ovarian cancer cells. The preclinical study’s advanced nanoparticles combined with low-intensity focused ultrasound improved the therapeutic effect of the chemotherapy and seemed to reduce toxicity and side effects, protect normal tissues, and minimize adverse reactions. See Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications.
The Use of Focused Ultrasound for the Treatment of Cutaneous Allodynia Associated with Chronic Migraine
Can pulsed focused ultrasound improve migraines that are triggered by mechanical stimuli? Researchers in Albany, NY, are working with Illinois-based Acoustic Medsystems, Inc. to develop a non-invasive treatment for medically refractory chronic migraine that does not require a permanent implant. Their recent study tested the safety and effectiveness of pulsed focused ultrasound in a validated rodent model of cutaneous allodynia associated with chronic migraine and compared the results to sumatriptan and ablative lesioning. How did focused ultrasound perform in this preclinical study? See Brain Research for the study and Neurology Advisor for news coverage.
Modulation of Cerebellar Cortical Plasticity Using Low-intensity Focused Ultrasound for Poststroke Sensorimotor Function Recovery
Scientists at the Korea Institute of Science and Technology are studying whether focused ultrasound could improve stroke recovery. To test their hypothesis, they applied low-intensity focused ultrasound to the lateral cerebellar nucleus (LCN) prior to four weeks of rehabilitative training in one group of affected mice and compared that to a group that received only rehabilitation. The LCN stimulation proved to significantly enhance and sustained sensorimotor recovery. See Neurorehabilitation and Neuro Repair.