Based on new study findings, novel treatment approaches for Alzheimer’s disease were presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA). The study explains how it is easy to target the areas of the blood-brain barrier through focused ultrasound. It is safe and the most effective method to monitor the open areas of the BBB. The report was presened in the CHICAGO, Dec 3, 2019.
RSNA is an association that consists of 53,400 radiologists, medical physicists, radiation oncologists, and related scientists. They are involved in the promotion of the best care delivered to patients through health care systems, education, new technology, and research.
Dementia in people usually leads them to Alzheimer’s disease, as there is no proper and effective treatment currently available for this disease. The blood-brain barrier (BBB) consists of the network of blood vessels and tissues. It inhibits the entry of the foreign material in the brain through the barriers. It also blocks some of the medications that are used for the treatments to reach the target site in the brain giving scientists a challenge in the field of research.
Scientists conducted studies on the animals to see the effect of this process. It was shown from the results of studies that under the guidance of MRI by delivering the pulses of low intensity focused ultrasound (LIFU), blood-brain barriers open reversibly, and it permits the drugs to reach the target site and the stem cells.
The clinical trials led by Ali Rezai, who is the director at the West Virginia University (WVU) Rockefeller Neurosciences Institute in Morgantown, W.Va for studying the LIFU action in the humans at the three specific sites. Researchers hired three women with Alzheimer’s (at an early stage) of the ages 73,72 and 61 years. They delivered the drugs in their brains at a specific site that is critical to memory.
Patients also have amyloid plaques that are the abnormal proteins clumps in the brain that are related to Alzheimer’s. three successive treatments were given by the researchers to the women at the intervals of two weeks and followed them for observing the infection, bleeding, and fluid or edema.
It was confirmed from the post-treatment results that BBB opened the target areas immediately after the treatment and they’re closed within or after the 24 hours. There were seen no adverse effects in patients with repeated exposure to treatments.
In the MRI guided LIFU a helmet is placed over the head of the patients when are positioned for the MRI scanner. There are more than 1000 ultrasound transducers that separately angled in the helmet with different orientations. Sound waves are transferred from the transducers to the target areas of the brain. An injection is also delivered to the patient that is the contrast agent containing microscopic bubbles. On applying the ultrasound to the target areas, bubbles change the size and shape with oscillations.
The study co-author Dr. Rashi Mehta says that focal energy was delivered to the target areas of the brain by the helmet transducers. When the bubbles oscillate it produces the mechanical energy in the capillaries of the target areas that resulted in the loosening of the BBB for a short time.
The effect of therapeutic drugs can be increased by LIFU in the brain. It improves the bioavailability of the drug in the brain. If the drugs are not given the opening of brains shown a positive effect on the health. As the openings allow the fluid to pass the brain to clean the toxins from it.
The scientists have the aim to study the therapeutic effect of LIFU in the future while they are involved in studying the safety techniques of the LIFU.
Dr. Mehta further says treating the patients with LIFU, the goal is to observe the long-term effects of memory and symptoms improvements related to Alzheimer’s disease. As far as safety is concerned, our next step will be to use this technique to deliver clinical drugs.