The approach is based on two-step ultrasound exposure, which helps to accurately release the drug in the affected area of the brain. This opens up new opportunities in the treatment of cancer and neurological diseases, the treatment of which is now limited due to the difficulty of accessing the damaged areas of the brain.
The development of the new technology belongs to scientists at the Swiss University of Technology Zurich. They have shown that it is now possible to organize the release of drugs in the brain to the exact millimeter.
Until now, it was impossible to achieve such precision, because drugs, moving through the bloodstream, could not selectively affect the tissues and were distributed much wider than the affected area. This is not effective and causes side effects. Now scientists used ultrasound to control the process.
The drug is packaged in special carriers based on lipid vesicles, which are attached to gas bubbles that are sensitive to ultrasound. First, they are injected into the bloodstream, and then, reaching the brain, with the help of ultrasound begins to release.
At the first stage, the drug is concentrated in the affected area of the brain using low frequency sound waves, and then higher frequencies cause the carriers of the drug to vibrate in the right place, releasing the drug. “Sound waves destroy the lipid membranes around the medication and release it into the brain tissue specifically in the affected area,” the authors explain.
The technology has already shown its effectiveness in experiments on models of rats.
An important advantage of the new approach is the low dosage of drugs used, because they can be concentrated in a given area of the brain. For example, in experiments with rats, scientists used a dosage 1300 times lower than usual.
At present, the team is already testing its approach on models of mental illness in animals. They hope that soon they will be able to evaluate its effectiveness in humans, so that in the future therapy of brain cancer and neurological diseases will be more targeted and with minimal side effects.