Scientists Break Through Brain Barrier to Treat Cancer Patient
Canadian scientists have successfully breached the brain-blood barrier in order to deliver cancer drugs to a patient.
The team, who carried out the experimental treatment at the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center, injected tiny bubbles that were filled with gas directly into the bloodstream. The bubbles were then able to pass through the blood-brain barriers by making small and temporary holes with the help of ultrasound waves. These waves were beamed through via the skull. Once the bubbles passed through, they were able to bring chemotherapy drugs with them.
The scientists are hopeful that this treatment plan can deliver potent cancer drugs that might not have worked in any other way. The scientists also hope that this technique might be effective at delivering drugs for other types of diseases, such as dementia.
Since the technique is still in its early stages, the scientists cautioned that they are not fully aware of the potential side effects that might come with the treatment.
In this one case, the scientists tested the technique on Bonny Hall, who has been taking medication for her brain tumor for eight years. This year, however, Hall learned that her tumor had grown and therefore, she needed more an aggressive form of therapy that would be more effective at targeting her tumor.
Hall agreed to take part in the experimental study. The doctors are now waiting to examine a part of Hall's tumor to see if the chemotherapy successfully reached it.
"The results are preliminary at this point because we don't have the levels of chemotherapy - but based on the gadolinium MRI scan, we were clearly able to open up the blood-brain barrier non-invasively, reversibly and it appears quite safely," Lead researcher and neurosurgeon Dr. Todd Mainprize said reported by BBC News.
"We are always concerned about possible downsides to any treatment and this is why this phase-one trial is undergoing. We are looking at the safety profile."
They plan on using the experimental technique on six to 10 more patients