Scientists Penetrate the Blood-Brain Barrier Using Microscopic Bubbles

By Lee Ann Santore

human brain on white background
human brain on white background

The blood-brain barrier acts as a shield to the brain and prevents toxins from reaching the central nervous system. Unfortunately, it also prevents the passage of medicines into the brain. A team of Canadian researchers from the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, led by Todd Mainprize, has developed a technique to penetrate the blood-brain barrier by injecting microscopic bubbles into the bloodstreams of cancer patients. These bubbles, when hit with a beam of ultrasound waves, oscillate their way through the barrier, leaving little holes for chemotherapy drugs to also pass through. The ability to penetrate the barrier non-invasively could aid in treating millions of patients with not only cancer, but also other brain illnesses including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. More trials need to be run to ensure the safety of this procedure since the blood-brain barrier is a sealed system and there could risks associated with opening it.

  1. Roberts, Scientists breach brain barrier to treat sick patient. BBC News. (2015).

Image Source:


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s