New Technology Shows Promise For Delivery Of Therapeutics To The Brain

Blood brain barrier in normal mouse brain (Image source)
A new technology that may assist in the treatment of brain cancer and other neurological diseases is the subject of an article in a recent issue of the journal Technology

According to the authors, the current medical use of chemotherapy to treat brain cancer can be inefficient because of the blood-brain-barrier that impedes the delivery of drugs out of blood vessels and into the tumor. The researchers have therefor created “a tool for blood-barrier-brain disruption that uses bursts of sub-microsecond bipolar pulses to enhance the transfer of large molecules to the brain.”

The new tool is called Vascular Enabled Nanosecond pulse or VEIN pulse. It will reversibly open the blood-brain-barrier to facilitate the treatment of brain cancer. In their testing, the VEIN pulse treatments were administered using minimally invasive electrodes inserted into the skull of each of the 18 anesthetized male rats. They varied the pulse duration within a burst, the total number of bursts (90 to 900), and the applied field. A key element of their success was that the pulses alternated in polarity to help eliminate muscle contractions and the need for a neuromuscular blockade.
Other than brain cancer, the VEIN pulse may be useful for treating other neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, and Alzheimer’s disease. The next step in this research would be to move to large animal, pre-clinical trials.