New Ultrasonic Device Helps Drugs Reach Glioblastoma

As you know, beating glioblastoma is difficult in at least several aspects. A first aspect is that it is multiform and it is difficult to find drugs effective on all glioblastomas. A second aspect is that due to the presence of the blood-brain barrier, few drugs are able to reach the tumor and therefore the effectiveness of chemotherapy is reduced because it is difficult to get clinically relevant doses of the drug to the tumor cells. Scientists have shown that a new ultrasound device can temporarily open this ‘blood-brain barrier’ in brain cancer patients, allowing powerful chemotherapy to reach brain tumours. Researchers demonstrated this effect with paclitaxel and carboplatin, two chemotherapy drugs that normally cross the blood-brain barrier only in negligible quantities. Phase I clinical trials showed that compared to untreated brain tissue, brain regions exposed to the treatment deliver approximately 3.7 times paclitaxel and 5.9 times more carboplatin, which means that drugs can reach clinically relevant levels by administering lower and therefore generally less toxic doses of chemotherapy to the patient.

Below, for those interested in learning more, the link to the informative article published on LiveScience and the link to the article illustrating the results of the clinical trial published on Lancet Oncology and a video illustrating the technique through an animation.

Animation that describes how the device works.