Engineering Innovation Podcast and Radio Series

Ultrasound on the Brain

PostedApril 29, 2005

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While nutrients (and recreational drugs) easily get into the brain, most chemicals engineered to attack cancers are blocked.  They're too big, because blood vessels feeding the brain are lined with cells weaved together by super-tight stitching the blood-brain barrier. Pierre Mourad, a University of Washington physicist, says animal studies suggest it could be possible to temporarily pop those threads with ultrasound. So doctors might surgically remove a brain tumor, apply ultrasound at the site, and then kill any leftover cancer with traditional chemotherapy during the two to three days it takes your body to do the "re-sewing." With the National Academy of Engineering, Randy Atkins, WTOP Radio.