Blood Brain Barrier Opened with Focused Ultrasound for the First Time in Humans
Earlier this week, we announced that the blood-brain barrier has been non-invasively opened in a patient for the first time. A team at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto used focused ultrasound to enable temporary and targeted opening of the blood-brain barrier (BBB), allowing more effective delivery of chemotherapy into a patient’s malignant brain tumor.
The team, led by neurosurgeon Todd Mainprize, MD, and physicist Kullervo Hynynen, PhD, infused the chemotherapy agent doxorubicin, along with tiny, gas-filled bubbles, into the bloodstream of a patient with a brain tumor. They then applied focused ultrasound to areas in the tumor and surrounding brain, causing the bubbles to vibrate and loosen the tight junctions of cells comprising the blood-brain barrier and allowing high concentrations of the chemotherapy to enter targeted tissues.
|"The blood-brain barrier has been a persistent impediment to delivering valuable therapies to treat tumors. We are encouraged that we were able to open this barrier... and we look forward to more opportunities to apply this revolutionary approach." – Dr. Todd Mainprize
This patient treatment is part of a pilot study of up to 10 patients to establish the feasibility, safety, and preliminary efficacy of focused ultrasound to temporarily open the blood-brain barrier to deliver chemotherapy to brain tumors. The Foundation is currently funding this clinical trial through the Cornelia Flagg Keller Memorial Fund for Brain Research.
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