In a Game-Changing Treatment, Scientists Open the Blood-Brain Barrier to Deliver Chemotherapy to The Brain

By: | May 7th, 2023

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The blood-brain barrier (BBB) is a crucial immunological feature of the human central nervous system (CNS). It shields the brain from toxic substances in the blood and lets in only what is needed.

Since the drugs can’t cross this blood-brain barrier, it also limits the treatment of brain-related diseases.

In a major medical breakthrough, scientists from Northwestern University in Illinois have developed an ultrasound device that can temporarily open the blood-brain barrier to deliver chemotherapy drugs to the brain.

A huge advancement in the treatment of Glioblastoma, a deadly brain tumor. 

Currently, there is no effective treatment for glioblastoma (GBM). The standard of treatment for newly diagnosed GBM is brain surgery, followed by radiation and oral chemotherapy.

In the first-ever human clinical trial to test the efficacy of this ultrasound method, scientists were able to open the barrier with the skull-implantable ultrasound device in a four-minute procedure.

They were able to deliver chemotherapy that was injected intravenously into the brain with the patient awake. The patient was able to go home within only a few hours after the treatment. The procedure led to a four- to six-fold increase in drug concentrations in the human brain.

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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