First FDA-approved study of focused ultrasound to open blood-brain barrier
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VIDEO: Dr. Graeme Woodworth, University of Maryland neurosurgeon, explains the potential benefit of using MRI-guided focused ultrasound to open the blood-brain barrier. He is leading the first FDA-approved clinical study using… view more 

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Baltimore, Md., Aug. 9, 2018 – In the first such clinical trial in the United States, physician-scientists with the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) are investigating the use of MRI-guided focused ultrasound to open the blood-brain barrier. The trial will be conducted with patients undergoing brain cancer surgery at the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC).

The blood-brain barrier is a specialized network of vascular and brain cells that acts as the brain’s security system, helping to safeguard the brain and regulate the flow of substances into and out of it. While this network protects the brain, it also limits doctors’ ability to deliver effective doses of disease-fighting drugs to the brain, particularly in the case of brain tumors, which are notoriously treatment-resistant. This safety and feasibility study is a first step in attempting to overcome a major hurdle in treating these often-deadly cancers.

“The ability to temporarily disrupt the blood-brain barrier without causing tissue damage has the potential to dramatically alter the landscape of

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