Monday, January 27, 2014

“Breaching the blood brain barrier to improve treatment of brain tumors”

This is the headline of an article I just read posted on Technology.org: http://www.technology.org/2014/01/21/breaching-blood-brain-barrier-improve-treatment-brain-tumors/

The first sentence nicely summarizes my (previous) understanding of the blood-brain barrier: “The effectiveness of most cancer treatments targeting the central nervous system (CNS) has been limited due to body’s own defenses, particularly the blood brain barrier, which is difficult to breach for most conventional therapies.”

Gretchen Reynold’s in her thoughtful book, The First 20 Minutes, explained the “blood-brain” issue so simply and eloquently I felt like this was an insurmountable barrier.

Well it was…until the brainiacs (i.e. scientists) at University of Chicago “…showed that intranasal administration of stem cell-based therapeutics may be effective in breaching the blood brain barrier and treating gliomas – the most common type of brain tumor – in mice.”

Ok, this is mice not people so I’m not jumping up and down just yet. 

But the article says that “This findings suggest that this method may be effective for treating medulloblastomas and other cerebellar tumors, which are particularly common in children.”

When they figure that out, I will be jumping up and down.

John

PS – if you are a brainiac yourself, here’s a link to the abstract in the journal of Molecular Therapy http://www.nature.com/mt/journal/vaop/naam/abs/mt2013199a.html

Image credit: <a href='http://www.123rf.com/photo_19698894_human-blood-health-care-and-medical-concept-with-red-blood-cells-flowing-in-a-vein-with-one-in-the-s.html'>lightwise / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

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