Nov 14, 2015

Blood-brain barrier opened non-invasively for the first time in humans, using focused ultrasound

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, health, neuroscience

Opening up the blood-brain barrier to deliver drugs (credit: Focused Ultrasound Foundation)

The blood-brain barrier has been non-invasively opened in a human patient for the first time. A team at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto used focused ultrasound to temporarily open the blood-brain barrier (BBB), allowing for effective delivery of chemotherapy into a patient’s malignant brain tumor.

The team 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, loosening the tight junctions of the cells comprising the BBB, and allowing high concentrations of the chemotherapy to enter targeted tissues.

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