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Scientists Make History by Breaking Blood-Brain Barrier to Treat Woman’s Tumor

Sunnybrook’s new method could open a new frontier in treating brain disorders.

Scientists at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto made history this week when they successfully developed a method to non-invasively breach the blood-brain barrier to more effectively treat the tumor of one patient, Bonnie Hall.

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As Dr. Todd Mainprize explains, their technique is to “essentially tear holes in the blood-brain barrier (BBB) to allow the chemicals they want to successfully circulate around the brain.” In addition to her chemo medicine, Bonnie was given injections of micro-bubbles—or tiny bits of air—and then placed into an MRI. As the doctors hoped, the bubbles shook, ripped holes in the BBB, and then allowed the medication to seep through.

Doctors say that over the next few months, 6-10 additional patients will be treated using the new method to determine its widespread safety and feasibility in treating other brain-related diseases. For now, this breakthrough is incredibly monumental.