Feature Articles

Nanoparticle administration across the blood-brain barrier using MRI-guided focused ultrasound

A vast array of medical conditions affects the central nervous system (CNS), implying a tremendous scope of therapeutic interventions that must target the brain. However, all medical therapy to the brain faces the inherent physiological obstacle of the blood-brain barrier (BBB). Furthermore, after the BBB, drugs must navigate the additional barrier of the brain extracellular space (ECS), which presents its own unique biochemical obstacles. Both the BBB and brain ECS present considerable difficulties for drug therapy to treat diseases affecting the brain. With advancing technology, there has been significant progress towards the goal of overcoming these barriers. An exciting development is the use of MRI-guided focused ultrasound (MRIgFUS) to deliver drug-loaded nanoparticles (NP).

This article describes and explores the use of MRIgFUS and NPs, together as a novel method in CNS drug therapy. First, the basic scientific principles underlying the approach are described. Then, studies that demonstrate key concepts, advancements, strengths, and limitations are discussed to outline directions that have been pursued towards the goal of implementing MRIgFUS NP delivery in practice.

Download (PDF, 725KB)