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Ultrasound Implant Boosts Brain Cancer Treatment

The technique allows drugs that typically can’t cross the blood-brain barrier to enter the brain for treatment.

Implanted Ultrasound
Northwestern University

A recent Medgadget article discussed the trials of a new method for treating brain cancer. A team of Northwestern University researchers conducted the first clinical trial of an implanted ultrasound device combined with microbubbles to temporarily open pores in the blood-brain barrier. The trial involved patients with glioblastoma, a difficult form of brain cancer, and resulted in a four- to six-fold increase in chemotherapy concentrations in the brain. 

The procedure involves implanting a grid of nine ultrasound emitters into the skull, allowing a significant portion of the brain to be bathed in ultrasound. The activated emitters cause microbubbles in the bloodstream to vibrate as they pass through the brain's blood vessels, creating transient pores in the endothelium of the vessels and providing a window of opportunity to deliver chemotherapeutic drugs to the brain. A video with more information can be seen here.

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