Theranostics 2018; 8(11):2988-2991. doi:10.7150/thno.26025

Editorial

Listening in on the Microbubble Crowd: Advanced Acoustic Monitoring for Improved Control of Blood-Brain Barrier Opening with Focused Ultrasound

Catherine M. Gorick, Natasha D. Sheybani, Colleen T. Curley, Richard J. Price

Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA

Abstract

Non-invasive drug and gene delivery to the brain to treat central nervous system pathologies has long been inhibited by the blood-brain barrier. The activation of microbubbles with focused ultrasound has emerged as a promising non-invasive approach to circumvent this obstacle, by transiently disrupting the blood-brain barrier and permitting passage of systemically administered therapeutics into the tissue. Clinical trials are underway to evaluate the safety of this technique; however, concerns remain regarding the potential for the treatment to induce sterile inflammation or petechiae. In this issue of Theranostics, Jones et al.[1] address these concerns through the development of an advanced three-dimensional imaging system for monitoring acoustic emissions from oscillating microbubbles. When subharmonic emissions are detected with this system, focused ultrasound pressure is reduced by 50% for the remainder of the treatment. This serves to transiently open the blood-brain barrier without generating adverse effects. While the ideal configuration of the transducer array for treatment and monitoring still presents an area for further optimization, the approach indicates that the acoustic signature of microbubble behavior within the skull can be used to ensure safe and effective blood-brain barrier opening using focused ultrasound.

Keywords: focused ultrasound, blood-brain barrier, acoustic emissions, acoustic monitoring, targeted drug and gene delivery

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How to cite this article:
Gorick CM, Sheybani ND, Curley CT, Price RJ. Listening in on the Microbubble Crowd: Advanced Acoustic Monitoring for Improved Control of Blood-Brain Barrier Opening with Focused Ultrasound. Theranostics 2018; 8(11):2988-2991. doi:10.7150/thno.26025. Available from http://www.thno.org/v08p2988.htm