Focused Ultrasounds to Fight Glioblastoma

In this period I am a bit busy transforming into a recognized voluntary organization. It is not easy because the legislation has changed but we will make it! I will keep you updated on this topic.

In my continuous research for information about glioblastoma multiforme, I came across this video seminar of the Focused Ultrasound Foundation ( proposed by the Musella Foundation. This is an informational seminar describing how targeted ultrasound helps make different therapies against glioblastoma multiforme and brain tumors more effective.

Focal ultrasound has the potential to replace or at least improve the different treatments used to fight brain tumors, from surgery to radiotherapy, from chemotherapy to immunotherapy:

  • For surgery, for example, they can act as substitutes by heating cancer cells until they die.
  • For radiotherapy they can make it more effective by sensitizing cancer cells.
  • For chemotherapy they can make it more effective by selectively opening the blood brain barrier (BBB). This allows to reduce the doses of chemotherapy to be taken to achieve a significant dose at the tumor site, hence to reduce the general toxicity.
  • For immunotherapy they can make brain tumors that are normally cold, hot, that is, more attractive to the immune system.
  • It can also favor liquid biopsy as, by opening the blood brain barrier, it also releases the DNA of cancer cells from the brain which can be examined through markers that allow for more targeted therapies (it is known that the glioblastoma cells keep mutating).

The mechanisms used by focused ultrasounds (they are the same ultrasounds used in diagnostics as echograph) to induce an effect through different beams that converge in a single point are both thermal and mechanical. The thermal mechanisms are: thermal ablation and hyperthermia. The mechanical mechanisms are: opening of the blood brain barrier, sonodynamic therapy and histotripsy.

With thermal ablation, for example, the temperature at the focal point is raised to 60 ° C and all tissues in that area die. Through hyperthermia, focused ultrasound helps attract cytokines to the tumor site. Likewise, temperature-sensitive liposomes can be attracted to the tumor site.

The opening of the amato-brain membrane is selective, i.e. focused and timed. It closes shortly after completing the treatment. This is useful for both chemotherapy and gene therapy. The transformation of cold (non-inflamed) tumors into warm (inflamed) tumors allows a large number of immune system cells such as T cells to be attracted to the tumor site.

Through photodynamic therapy it is possible to use the 5-Ala which is attracted directly to the site of the tumor to release free radicals and kill cancer cells. Furthermore, directing an ultrasound beam at high pressure can cause the death of cancer cells by mechanical fractionation.

Focused Ultrasounds to fight brain tumors

The therapies are still in the experimental stage but there are several active clinical studies that are recruiting patients in different parts of the world. Do not hesitate to comment on this article and let me know if for example it is in use in any treatment center in Italy.

Finally, the fundraising campaign for CUSP-ND for Emanuele continues undaunted. Share the link to spread the word and raise awareness as many people as possible! We need to do more, much more!