Noninvasive and targeted interruption of the blood brain barrier for drug delivery using focused ultrasound in the treatment of CNS disorders
Despite the prevalence of CNS disorders, treatment options for CNS disorders fall woefully behind treatment options for other systemic disorders. This is due to the presence of the blood brain barrier (BBB) acting as an obstacle, preventing foreign substances from entering the brain. A newly developed and innovative biomedical procedure attempts to bypass the BBB in the delivery of therapeutics by using focused ultrasound (FUS) to disrupt and temporarily open the BBB. The use of FUS-facilitated BBB opening is able to target specific tissue for noninvasive, localized BBB penetration. As the technique is experimental and in it's nascent stage of development, there are only a few studies that investigate its abilities in delivering treatments directly to the brain. The studies involve delivery of large, hydrophilic molecules that traditionally would not be able to bypass the BBB and enter the brain, and analysis of CNS concentrations of the molecules after FUS treatment, as well as the therapeutic successes. Results of FUS the studies are promising and the results demonstrate that the procedure is able to significantly increase drug concentrations in the brain, increase survival rates in animal models, decrease tumor growth, and decrease tumor margins and volume. The potential and power of FUS should be further explored as the future of CNS disorder treatments.