New technique could revolutionise treatment of brain diseases by allowing more drugs to cross the blood brain barrier

1 Microscopic bubbles of contrast agent are injected into patient’s bloodstream

2 Ultrasound triggers the microbubbles to oscillate, which pulls apart the cells

3 Drug molecules in the bloodstream can now pass into the brain tissue

3

Brain tissue

Tightly fused gap

between cells

Blood brain

barrier cells

1

2

Blood

vessel

Gap

opens

Ultrasound

beam

Red blood

cells

Oscillating

microbubble

1

2

3

Microscopic bubbles of contrast agent are injected into patient’s bloodstream

Ultrasound triggers the microbubbles to oscillate, which pulls apart the cells

Drug molecules in the bloodstream can now pass into the brain tissue

Brain tissue

Ultrasound

beam

Blood brain

barrier cells

Tightly fused gap

between cells

Blood

vessel

Red blood

cells

Gap

opens

Oscillating

microbubble