The blood-brain barrier inside everyone's body keeps unwanted chemicals and germs out of the brain area.
The BBB basically filters good and harmful molecules.
While this is usually a good thing, the BBB has also prevented doctors from injecting drugs directly into the brain, unless they used invasive surgery. The only other option has been injecting drugs into the person's bloodstream and waiting for the medication to find its way to the brain.
Now, scientists, specialists and researchers at the Canadian National Research Council's Therapeutics Beyond Brain Barriers program believe they may have found a way around the BBB to treat patients' brains with drugs without having to open their skulls.
According to The Independent, the researchers developed "special molecules that can trick the BBB into think(ing) that they should be let through by exploiting the mechanism that (allows) nutrients into the brain ... These carrier molecules that help disease-fighting ones break through, where they can then release the therapeutics they need, straight into the nervous system."
Dr. Danica Stanimirovic, the lead researcher of the TBBB, told Vice.com, “It really opens the possibilities to use many different types of therapeutics for different diseases that we couldn’t really use before unless we inject them directly into the brain which is highly invasive."
The researchers want to move on to clinical trials, which could take a decade to complete.
Sources: The Independent, Vice.com
Image Credit: Radiology, Uppsala University Hospital