Magnetic Resonance guided Focused Ultrasounds (MRgFUS)

In this collaborative study with the group of Pr Max Wintermark at Stanford University, we are establishing MRgFUS protocols to facilitate the delivery of drugs to the brain. The technique uses low energy Focused Ultrasounds and systemically delivered microbubbles to open the Blood Brain Barrier (BBB) by mechanical disruption, in a safe and transient way. Therapeutic molecules or tracers can then make their way to areas of the brain that would typically not be accessible through an intact BBB.

After establishing the protocols in healthy mice, we sonicated brain tumors to see if the technique had a similar effect on the Brain to Tumor Barrier (BTB), in an attempt to facilitate the delivery of large therapeutic drugs such as antibodies for immunotherapy. MRI in this context is used to locate tumors, guide FUS and assess the effect of the treatment (BTB opening, possible hemorraghes)

MRgFUS was also used in another study with epileptic rats. This time, MRgFUS and microbubbles were combined to open the BBB in the temporal hippocampus, while a neurotoxin was circulating systemically. The number of seizures before and after the application of MRgFUS with the neurotoxin served to assess the efficacy of the therapy.

 

This study was made possible thanks to a Mobility grant from FNR Luxembourg and the Visiting Scholar program at the Stanford University.