Systemic treatment for brain cancer is challenging because nearly all chemotherapeutic agents are blocked by the blood brain barrier that protects neurological tissues from toxins. However, the Food and Drug Administration recently granted approval to researchers at the University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center to conduct a study that will make them the first in the United States to perform blood brain barrier disruption (BBBD) to open the blood brain barrier in highly invasive glioblastoma tumors.

This study, as part of the safety and feasibility process, will provide a neurosurgeon with additional data about the tumor during surgery as part of the current standard approach. This BBBD technique may represent the first step toward the eventual direct delivery of therapeutic agents to invasive components of these brain tumors.

Using the Exablate Neuro, a 220 kHz focused ultrasound technology developed by INSIGHTEC, along with DEFINITY microbubbles, currently used as ultrasound contrast agents developed by Lantheus Medical Imaging, a team led by Graeme Woodworth, MD, FACS, Professor of Neurosurgery, will be able to disrupt the blood brain barrier enough to successfully image and mark specific regions of a brain tumor with gadolinium contrast agent. The UM Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center is one of only a few centers in North America that currently have the 220 kHz focused ultrasound technology necessary for this process.

In this video, Dr. Woodworth explains the significance of opening the blood brain barrier and discusses how his research contributes to potential new treatment possibilities for glioblastoma patients.

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