The results pave the way for the delivery of a variety of new and established treatments for a variety of brain diseases that would otherwise be impossible to treat.
Scientists at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Canada, have proven that magnetic resonance-guided concentrated ultrasound may be used to safely administer antibody treatment to breast cancer patients who have spread to the brain in a first-in-the-world clinical trial. Sunnybrook researchers captured images of trastuzumab (or Herceptin), an antibody therapy, precisely targeting tumors in the brain from using Insightec's Exablate Neuro concentrated ultrasound device to briefly and non-invasively open the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and allow intravenous trastuzumab to more effectively access tumor sites in this Phase I clinical trial for Her2-positive breast cancer patients.
Antibody treatments, which are frequently used in collaboration with radiation and chemotherapy, can aid the immune system in fighting cancerous cells. When intending to target brain locations, however, the BBB creates a problem. The BBB is a layer of cells that lines blood arteries that protect the brain from germs, viruses, and other toxins, but it can also inhibit medicines like trastuzumab from attaining maximum enough concentrations in the brain to be effective.
Early results from this trial indicate that delivering antibody therapy directly to tumors using concentrated ultrasound can improve treatment success, with tumors shrinking somewhat, with outcomes ranging from 7% to 31% for patients during the research on average to 21%. The decrease in tumor size is encouraging, but this should be taken with care because further large-scale research is needed.
Sunnybrook's interdisciplinary team is a leader in the use of focused ultrasound to treat a wide range of brain diseases. This groundbreaking work demonstrating the efficacy of focused ultrasound in opening the Blood-brain barrier and enabling antibody administration to the brain is a significant step forward in the development of novel treatments for brain tumors and other neurological diseases.