Safer way to deliver drugs to brain revealed in new study
A team of researchers in the UK claims to have identified a better and safer way to deliver drugs right to the brain by using ultrasound pulses to “non-invasively” clear the way for the carriers - medicine-filled lipid balls, known as liposomes.
The experiments on mice were conducted by scientists from the King’s College London School of Biomedical Engineering & Imaging Sciences and the Noninvasive Surgery & Biopsy Laboratory. They used rapid short pulses of ultrasound (RaSP) to expand and contract microbubbles, which acted to open the brain’s barrier and safely draw in the liposomes, injected through the mouse's tail.
“The RaSP sequence at both acoustic pressures provided a safer delivery while achieving higher delivery efficacy compared to the long pulse treatments at the lower pressure,” the scientists concluded. Their research was published in the latest issue of the Journal of Controlled Release.
The “improved safety profile and efficacy” of the innovative method allows it to “deliver large molecules to the brain without causing damage,” the scientists emphasized in their paper on the technique.
Commenting on the research, study co-author Aishwarya Mishra from the School of Biomedical Engineering & Imaging Sciences said the team’s other key finding “was the ability to study the liposomes being delivered to different types of neuronal cells showing the liposomes are taken up by these targets and can be used to treat the diseases associated with these cells.”
The issue of administering nanomedicines without damaging the blood-brain barrier could prove increasingly important across a number of treatments, with Kings College noting that liposomes - capable of carrying high drug concentrations - have shown potential in treating a number of diseases, including cancer.
The college highlighted Pfizer-BioNTech's Covid-19 vaccine as one of the clinically-approved liposome formulations currently in use.