AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 27, Number 2, 2018


Laser Surgery Opens Blood-Brain Barrier to Chemotherapy

Neurosurgeons at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have begun to research laser treatment for patients with glioblastoma when opening the blood-brain barrier. 14 patients were in the pilot study and underwent a minimally invasive laser surgical treatment to eliminate the recurrence of their tumors. The surgeons knew the heat from the laser would kill tumor cells; however, they also discovered it could penetrate the blood-brain barrier. “The laser treatment kept the blood-brain barrier open for four to six weeks, providing us with with a therapeutic window of opportunity to deliver chemotherapy drugs to the patients,” said co-corresponding author Eric C. Leuthardt, MD, a Washington University professor of neurosurgery who treats patients at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. “This is crucial because most chemotherapy drugs can’t get past the protective barrier, greatly limiting treatment options for patients with brain tumors.” To read more about this study, click here

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