Innovative Applications of MR-Guided Focused Ultrasound for Neurological Disorders.

TitleInnovative Applications of MR-Guided Focused Ultrasound for Neurological Disorders.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsStavarache MA, J Chazen L, Kaplitt MG
JournalWorld Neurosurg
Date Published2021 Jan

Magnetic resonance-guided focused ultrasound (MRgFUS) is a cutting-edge technology that is changing the practice of movement disorders surgery. Given the noninvasive and innovative nature of this technology, there is great interest in expanding the use of MRgFUS to additional diseases and applications. Current approved applications target the motor thalamus to treat tremor, but clinical trials are exploring or plan to study noninvasive lesions with MRgFUS to ablate tumor cells in the brain as well as novel targets for movement disorders and brain regions associated with pain and epilepsy. Although there are additional potential indications for lesioning, the ability to improve function by destroying parts of the brain is still limited. However, MRgFUS can also be applied to a brain target after intravenous delivery of microbubbles to create cavitations and focally open the blood-brain barrier (BBB). This has already proven to be safe and technically feasible in human patients with Alzheimer's disease, and this action alone has potential to clear extracellular pathology associated with this and other neurodegenerative disorders. This also provides a foundation for noninvasive intravenous delivery of therapeutic molecules to precise brain targets after transient disruption of the BBB. Certain chemotherapies for brain tumors, immunotherapies, gene, and cell therapies are all examples of therapeutic or even restorative agents that normally will not enter the brain without direct infusion but which have been shown in preclinical studies to effectively traverse the BBB after transient disruption with MRgFUS. Here we will review these novel applications of MRgFUS to provide an overview of the extraordinary potential of this technology to expand future neurosurgical treatments of brain diseases.

Alternate JournalWorld Neurosurg
PubMed ID33348524