"The blood brain barrier is a challenge in the treatment of brain malignancies, as it can hinder drug delivery," says co-corresponding and co-lead author Costas Arvanitis, PhD. "Even when a drug reaches the brain's circulation, abnormal blood vessels in and around tumors lead to non-uniform drug delivery, with low concentrations in some areas of the tumor. If a drug makes it to a region of the tumor and crosses the abnormal blood vessel wall, it encounters dense tissue within the tumor that can block access to malignant cells. We sought to use a new methodology that may improve these abnormal transport properties to enhance drug delivery and efficacy throughout a brain tumor." Arvanitis, an assistant professor at Georgia Institute of Technology, worked on this study at both the Edwin L. Steele Laboratories for Tumor Biology in the MGH Department of Radiation Oncology and in his new Biomedical Acoustics and Image-Guided Therapy laboratory at Georgia Tech.
Focused ultrasound concentrates multiple beams of ultrasound energy on a single spot within the body. Microbubbles -- tiny lipid bubbles that vibrate in response to ultrasound signals -- injected into the circulation can temporarily breach the blood brain barrier at the target site. Although this approach has been studied in animal models with promising results -- leading to phase 1 clinical trials in conditions including primary brain tumors such as glioblastoma -- the underlying mechanisms have not been well understood. To learn more about the properties of focused ultrasound treatment of brain tumors, the team employed advanced microscopy techniques in live mice that had received implants of HER2-positive breast cancer cells in their brains.
Experiments - Researchers - Ability - Ultrasound - Delivery
In their experiments, the researchers explored the ability of focused ultrasound to enhance delivery of two types of anti-cancer agents -- the common chemotherapy drug doxorubicin and the targeted drug T-DM1, which combines...
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