A noninvasive way to open the brain’s borders may have been found by researchers. This is done in order to allow medication that fights tumors inside.
The blood-brain barrier, which is a layer of specialized cells, shields the brain by necessity.
Better Way to Fight Cancer? It Keeps Out Toxic Substances
It keeps out toxic substances while allowing essentials like oxygen and sugar.
On the flip side, this limits the usage of medication to treat damaged tissue or tumors and it cannot be penetrated easily.
In 4 patients who had breast cancer that spread to the brain, scientists are reporting that they have found a way to use ultrasound technology to temporarily and noninvasively open this barrier of blood in the brain.
The drug trastuzumab was consequently delivered in order to treat the tumors in the patient’s brain.
Dr. Nir Lipsman, a neurosurgeon, said that they were at the first stage and it has been shown to be feasible and safe.
He is a senior researcher, based in the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, in Toronto.
The number of drugs that reached the brain tumors was also increased, according to some signs.
There was also a small reduction in the size of the brain tumor in the patients’ on average.
The researchers stressed that cautious interpretation of the findings is required and these findings lay the groundwork for larger studies.
Lipsman said that the ultimate goal is to demonstrate whether long-term control of the growth of brain tumors if achieved by the technique. He added that the patients’ survival was also taken into account.
When diagnosed early, breast cancer is treatable.
99% of women who get breast cancer diagnosed in its early stages are still alive after 5 years, according to the American Cancer Society.
Among women who have metastatic breast cancer, the survival rate drops to 28%.
This means that the location of the tumors is in distant sites of the body. An example of this is the brain.
4 women with HER2-positive breast cancer were included in the study. This cancer had spread to the brain.
HER2, a particular protein is carried by rumor cells when a person has HER2-positive breast cancer. This protein helps the tumors grow.
This protein can only be targeted by specific drugs like Herceptin.
According to Lipsman’s team, only a small amount of Herceptin can penetrate the brain.
Focused ultrasound, was used as an approach to open the brain’s protective barrier briefly.
Using MRI as a visual guide, this procedure was performed.
Lipsman said that the technique pulls apart the plastic wrap at certain spots if the blood-brain barrier is pictured to be a plastic wrap.
This pulling apart of the wrap gives the medication an entry to the brain.
Lipsman noted that it closes within 24 hours.
The approach was verified by researchers using imaging techniques that were advanced. It was verified that the amount of Herceptin, which was increased, was actually able to penetrate the tumors.
All 4 women showed that there was some amount of reduction in the volume of the tumors, in the following months.
Lipsman noted that the blood-brain barrier exists for a reason and said that it is of concern that even if it is opened only briefly, the toxins in the body can be ushered through.
In this initial study, there were no safety issues.
Dr. Charles Shapiro is a professor and oncologist.
He said that activity against brain tumors, especially in patients who have HER2-positive cancer is seen in a number of drug combinations.
He said that this includes the drugs Herceptin, along with Tukysa and Xeloda.
This is a promising start to things.
With over 15 years as a practicing journalist, Nikki Attkisson found herself at Powdersville Post now after working at several other publications. She is an award-winning journalist with an entrepreneurial spirit and worked as a journalist covering technology, innovation, environmental issues, politics, health etc. Nikki Attkisson has also worked on product development, content strategy, and editorial management for numerous media companies. She began her career at local news stations and worked as a reporter in national newspapers.