Can a new ultrasound test assist in the treatment of brain cancer patients by delivering drugs directly to the brain?
A new technology is being investigated to see if it can improve how doctors treat brain cancer patients as well as those with neurodegenerative illnesses.
What is the key? Drugs and other therapies will be able to access the brain thanks to a focused MRI method.
A technology called “magnetic resonance-guided focused ultrasound” (MRgFUS) was found to deliver an antibody medicine called “trastuzumab,” or Herceptin, to the brain tissues in a trial involving four women whose breast cancer had progressed to the brain. The chemical was able to penetrate the “blood-brain barrier” (BBB), a cellular structure that prevents drugs in the bloodstream from reaching the brain, using the MRgFus technique.
The technique’s initial results suggested that the patients’ brain tumors began to decrease.
Normally, the BBB protects the brain from poisons or microorganisms found in a person’s bloodstream, allowing only vital substances such as water and oxygen to pass through.
However, scientists have struggled to find temporary ways to bypass the BBB in order to give pharmacological therapy for a variety of disorders, including neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.
Previous attempts to open the BBB, according to the study’s leader, Dr. Nir Lipsman of Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto, were successful in temporarily opening it to treat a different type of brain cancer and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), but neither attempt aimed to deliver drugs directly to the brain. This treatment is being tried for the first time by his team.
Although Nisman’s team saw some reduction in the size of patients’ tumors, he stressed that it was still too early to completely assess the results. He stated on Twitter that the treatment will necessitate further follow-ups in the long run.
We demonstrated that this could be done as an outpatient procedure in a safe and repeatable manner. There was a decrease in tumor size in certain individuals over time, albeit these are preliminary results that require long-term follow-up. The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCIB), a division of the National Institute of Health, considers MRgFUS to be a non-invasive treatment for patients that is already being used to treat uterine fibroids in women.
The technique, according to Dr. Lipsman, has the potential to treat a range of brain illnesses in the future.
“This is a non-invasive, risk-free procedure. The Washington Newsday Brief News is a daily newspaper published in Washington, D.C.