New Therapy Could Deliver Anti-Cancer Medicine Directly to the Brain

Scientists at a Canadian research center will soon test their theory of how to overcome the blood-brain barrier (BBB), a biological feature which protects the brain from toxins in the blood but also prevents beneficial medicines from reaching the brain.

What's the Latest?


Scientists at a Canadian research center will soon test their theory of how to overcome the blood-brain barrier (BBB), a biological feature which protects the brain from toxins in the blood but also prevents beneficial medicines from reaching the brain. The solution may rest in microbubbles, tiny gas-filled pockets of air that will expand and contract about 200,000 times a second, forcing apart the specialized cells that form the BBB. "The idea is that this will allow the chemotherapy drug in the bloodstream to sneak through the gaps in the barrier and into any nearby tumor cells."

What's the Big Idea?

The experiment, to be carried out at Toronto's Sunnybrook Research Institute, will involve 10 patients suffering from cancerous brain tumors. "First, the volunteers will be given a chemotherapy drug that does not usually cross the BBB. They will then receive an injection of microbubbles, which will spread throughout the body, including into the blood vessels that serve the brain." Researchers believe that if the trial runs are successful, a similar method cold be used to combat Alzheimer's, using micro bubbles to deliver antibodies shown to wipe out protein plaques characteristic of the disease. 

Read more at New Scientist

Photo credit: Jezper/Shutterstock

Compelling speakers do these 4 things every single time

The ability to speak clearly, succinctly, and powerfully is easier than you think

Former U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee rally at the Anaheim Convention Center on September 8, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Barbara Davidson/Getty Images)
Personal Growth

The ability to communicate effectively can make or break a person's assessment of your intelligence, competence, and authenticity.

Keep reading Show less

This 5-minute neck scan can spot dementia 10 years before it emerges

The results come from a 15-year study that used ultrasound scans to track blood vessels in middle-aged adults starting in 2002.

Mikhail Kalinin via Wikipedia
Mind & Brain
  • The study measured the stiffness of blood vessels in middle-aged patients over time.
  • Stiff blood vessels can lead to the destruction of delicate blood vessels in the brain, which can contribute to cognitive decline.
  • The scans could someday become a widely used tool to identify people at high risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer's.
Keep reading Show less

How 'dark horses' flip the script of success and happiness

What defines a dark horse? The all-important decision to pursue fulfillment and excellence.

Big Think Books

When we first set the Dark Horse Project in motion, fulfillment was the last thing on our minds. We were hoping to uncover specific and possibly idiosyncratic study methods, learning techniques, and rehearsal regimes that dark horses used to attain excellence. Our training made us resistant to ambiguous variables that were difficult to quantify, and personal fulfillment seemed downright foggy. But our training also taught us never to ignore the evidence, no matter how much it violated our expectations.

Keep reading Show less