A team of Northwestern University scientists has managed to open the blood-brain barrier for the first time in order to get the most powerful chemotherapy used to treat glioblastomas reach the brain.
A team of scientists from Northwestern University in the United States has succeeded for the first time in opening the blood-brain barrier. Brain receiving most powerful chemotherapy to treat glioblastomas The most aggressive and common brain tumour.
According to an article in the special publication Lancet Oncology Researchers implant an ultrasound machine in patients using Microbubbles to open the blood-brain barrier and penetrate vital parts of the brain so that intravenously administered chemotherapy can penetrate.
In short, one of the main obstacles so far in treating this deadly tumor has been that the most potent chemotherapy cannot penetrate the blood-brain barrier. A microscopic structure that protects the brain from most drugs.
Scientists at Northwestern Medical School accomplished that process in just four minutes. with awake patients That they could go home in a few hours.
According to the results of this test, The treatment is “safe” and was “well tolerated” by patients, some of whom lasted up to six sessions.
Thanks to the opening of the blood-brain barrier, patients received four to six times higher concentrations of chemotherapy in their brain.
The scientists observed this increase with two different drugs, paclitaxel and carboplatin, which are not commonly used in glioblastoma patients because of their difficulties in crossing the blood-brain barrier.
Furthermore, this is the first study to describe how quickly the blockage closes again After being opened with sonication, or ultrasound application.
The scientists found that 30 to 60 minutes after undergoing the procedure, the blood-brain barrier closed again, making it possible to optimize the drug delivery sequence and ultrasound activation.
Principal Investigator and Professor at the Feinberg School of Medicine of the said University, Adam Sonbend He called the achievement a “potentially major advance for patients with glioblastoma.”
According to the statement, the neurosurgeon explained that the drugs currently used against glioblastomas, temozolomide Can pass through the barrier but has a weak effect.
The difficulty in crossing the blood-brain barrier has greatly limited the armamentarium available to fight brain tumors.
Previous experiments with paclitaxel injected directly into the brain have produced promising results, but the practice has been associated with brain irritation and meningitis.
According to Sonnabend, the use of ultrasound allows the barrier to reopen and close within an hour, “a time window following the sound in which the brain is permeable to drugs that circulate in the bloodstream.”
The findings of this study are the basis for the second phase of the clinical trial that scientists are conducting patients with recurrent glioblastoma, and which aimed to investigate whether combined treatment with paclitaxel and carboplatin prolongs the life of these patients.
“Although we focused on brain cancer, this opens the door to investigate new drug treatments for the millions of patients suffering from brain diseases,” Sonnabend said.