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The blood-brain barrier is a protective layer that surrounds the brain. Its main function is to prevent potentially harmful agents from leaking into this organ. However, it can also stop certain therapeutic drugs from reaching their target.
Scientists can address this issue by temporarily bypassing the blood-brain barrier by using low-frequency ultrasound pulses.
So far, they have only experimented with long-wave ultrasound pulses.
However, these can bring on side effects, such as brain tissue damage and prolonged exposure to harmful molecules penetrating the blood-brain barrier alongside the drugs.
Now, research conducted at Imperial College London in the United Kingdom suggests that a new approach to ultrasound disruption of the blood-brain barrier may work better and cause fewer problems.
The team — led by James Choi, Ph.D. — is focusing on the use of shorter-wave ultrasound pulses, which the scientists have recently tested in mouse models.
Following the new research, the results of which appear in the journal Radiology, Choi notes that he and his colleagues “have now found a seemingly effective way of getting potentially effective drugs to where they need to be.”