Rewriting Life

Brain Bubble

A new drug-delivery device may offer new hope to patients afflicted with glioma-a type of brain tumor that is now invariably fatal. University of Kentucky neuroscientist Roy Patchell has invented a device, called Serodur, that directly administers therapeutic drugs to the tumor. Serodur consists of a silicon bubble implanted under the scalp and a tube that carries drugs from this chamber to the tumor through a flow-regulating membrane. Serodur can be refilled by injecting more medicine through the scalp into the reservoir. Such direct injection allows for a higher dosage and fewer side effects than conventional intravenous chemotherapy, says Patchell. And with its direct line into the brain, Serodur can dispense drugs that are unable to cross the so-called “blood-brain barrier “-including drugs that selectively kill dividing cancerous cells in order to destroy the tumor more effectively. Patchell expects a large-scale national trial of the device to begin next year.

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