[IMAGE: courtesy Columbia Engineering. An image captured from video animation produced by Columbia Engineering. http://www.engineering.columbia.edu/ ]
The one barrier that has challenged doctors when delivering medicinal therapies is that which is called the “Blood-Brain Barrier”.
Through millions of years of evolution the body has developed many protective, survival mechanisms. One of those is a way to FILTER the composition of the blood stream to prevent dangerous and unnecessary “impurities” from reaching and contaminating the brain or the spinal fluid. This is a good thing until a virus or some other nasty impurity manages to cross that threshold and enter the brain space or spinal fluid. When that happens and is diagnosed, treatment becomes very difficult because that same filtering mechanism that failed to prevent the infection or contaminant, nonetheless, continues to work hard to filter and keep out any contaminants including therapeutic drugs. Thus, doctors are often frustrated when trying to treat diseases of the brain.
A promising new experimental procedure has the medical establishment very excited. This procedure was INVENTED at SUNNYBROOK HOSPITAL, Toronto, Ontario, Canada and was recently put to the test when a patient volunteered to be the world’s first test subject.
Special chemotherapy drugs designed to target a brain tumor were encased in microscopic bubbles which are tinier than red blood cells. Those tiny bubbles are then guided by special equipment across the protective blood-brain barrier and positioned as close as possible to the target site, for example the site of a brain tumor. Using a special vibratory process the tiny bubbles are encouraged to release the chemotherapy into the surrounds. By positioning the chemotherapy closer to, and sometimes directly onto the site of the “infected tissue”, it is hoped that the therapy will be much more powerful and effective in treating the infection while presenting less damage to the other tissues of the body.
This is a very significant breakthrough. This new process creates a significant opportunity to enhance treatments for many other diseases that nest in the brain and then hide behind the protective shield of the blood brain barrier.
[Source: “World first: blood-brain barrier opened non-invasively to deliver chemotherapy”. Sunnybrook Research Institute. Nov. 8, 2015. http://sunnybrook.ca/research/media/item.asp?c=2&i=1351&page=524&f=blood-brain-barrier-focused-ultrasound-chemo ]