A team of Canadian researchers has devised a new method of delivering chemotherapy drugs directly to a patient's brain.
A team of Canadian doctors has breached the brain’s protective membrane using an innovative new method to deliver chemotherapy drugs. According to a report from the BBC, the researchers injected small bubbles filled with a mixture of gas and chemo drugs into a patient’s bloodstream to temporarily breach the barrier between the blood and the brain.
The researchers then aimed a beam of ultrasound waves at the patient’s skull to make the bubbles vibrate and enter the brain through the protective barrier. As many as 10 additional patients will undergo the same treatment as part of a preliminary trial.
Researchers from the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Canada were excited about the new technique, saying it could be successful in delivering more potent medications that are difficult to administer otherwise. They also hope that the technique could be used to treat other brain diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.
The blood-brain barrier exists to protect the brain from bacteria and toxic compounds. A tightly packed layer of cells partitions the brain from the blood vessels covering the outside, and has proven difficult to bypass for doctors trying to administer drugs directly to the brain.
While the new method holds serious promise, the researchers reiterated that there would need to be many more trials on both animal and human participants before they can say that it is safe for sure.
The new non-invasive method could usher in a new era of drug delivery, and researchers are hopeful that it can reach clinical trials soon. A press release from the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre outlining the details of the study can be found here.