Richard Price, University of Virginia biomedical engineering professor, and his colleagues at Johns Hopkins University are working together to open the blood-brain barrier and allow drug-bearing nanoparticles into the brain tissue. Their goal is to provide a new treatment for gliobastomas, the most common form of brain cancer.
Price has developed a technique to breach the blood-brain barrier using microbubbles. By applying low-frequency ultrasound, one can cause the bubbles to oscillate, disrupting the blood-brain barrier. However, this is only the first challenge in treating gliobastomas.
Brain cells are tightly packed, hindering therapeutic agents from diffusing through the brain. Here, researchers at Johns Hopkins stepped in, developing a nanoparticle coated in polyethylene glycol, enabling it to disperse freely.
“We joined forces with John Hopkins because we each had a technology that addresses one of the two big physical barriers to drug delivery in the brain,” Price said. “We decided to put the two technologies together and see if that combination can actually produce efficacy.”