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Ultrasound Implants may Help Open the Blood-brain Barrier

A French firm may have finally found a sustainable way to allow large drug molecules to pass through the blood-brain barrier, thereby significantly improving the effectiveness of some drugs.

The blood-brain barrier prevents toxic materials present in the blood to reach the brain, thereby protecting the organ from harm. However the same barrier also prevents drugs, such as chemotherapy drugs, to reach the brain and attack the tumor sites directly.

Now a Paris-based firm called CarThera may have found to a way to help the drugs reach the brain, with the help of an implant.

The researchers carried out the test in a group of four patients suffering from a recurrence of glioblastoma at the Pitie-Salpetriere Hospital in Paris. All the patients with fitted with a SonoCloud implant in their scalp. This device helps project ultrasound into the brain, which resonates microbubbles injected into the blood to travel up to the brain.

These vibrating microbubbles then create tiny perforations within the blood-brain barrier which allows chemo drugs to sneak through and attack the tumors. While the technique has shown some promise in the trials, the researchers admitted that they still have a long way to go before it can be deemed as a success.