In this ground breaking study, patients are given an injection of tiny bubbles alongside their usual chemotherapy drugs. As the bubbles travel in the blood vessel towards the brain, researchers trigger an ultrasound probe placed inside the patients’ skull to make the bubbles vibrate. This vibration causes the blood vessels to become leaky, temporarily disrupting the blood-brain barrier and allowing the chemotherapy drug to pass into the tumour.
Whilst it is too soon to know what effect this new technique will have on survival rates, Professor Carpentier is optimistic that not only is the method now proven to be safe in humans, the amount of carboplatin crossing the blood-brain barrier is increased five fold by using bubbles and ultrasound. By getting more of the chemotherapy drug into the tumour it is hoped that more brain cancers will be successfully treated.