Clinical trial of blood-brain barrier disruption by pulsed ultrasound

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Science Translational Medicine  15 Jun 2016:
Vol. 8, Issue 343, pp. 343re2
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aaf6086

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A sound attack on brain tumors

Brain tumors are difficult to treat with chemotherapy because the blood-brain barrier greatly limits the delivery of drugs into the brain. Carpentier et al. have developed a pulsed ultrasound device, which they implanted into the skull of patients with glioblastoma, an aggressive and difficult to treat brain tumor, in a first-in-human trial. At regularly scheduled treatment sessions, the researchers activated the ultrasound device by connecting it to a power source, disrupting the blood-brain barrier long enough for subsequent chemotherapy to reach the brain. The authors confirmed that this approach was well tolerated and showed evidence of effectiveness to disrupt the blood-brain barrier, paving the way for further development of this therapeutic approach.