Northwestern Medicine achieves breakthrough in glioblastoma treatment

In what is being hailed as a major breakthrough, scientists from Northwestern Medicine have successfully used ultrasound technology to target and treat glioblastoma, a deadly brain cancer, potentially prolonging patients' lives.

Glioblastoma, the most common and aggressive form of malignant brain tumor in adults, currently has no cure. However, Northwestern doctors have developed a novel approach using a skull implantable ultrasound device to deliver drugs and antibodies directly to the tumor.

The innovative technology allows for penetration of the blood-brain barrier, enabling a precise dose of a chemotherapy and immunotherapy drug cocktail to be administered. This approach alters the body's immune system, allowing it to recognize and attack the brain cancer while sparing healthy cells.

"One of the main reasons why these tumors are so resilient to treatment is because they’re hidden in the brain from whatever drugs are circulating in the blood. Another important reason why they are very difficult to treat is because they have actually blockaded the immune system; they really avoid and depress any immune response," said Dr. Sonabend Worthalter, a professor of neurological surgery at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

Glioblastoma has notably claimed the lives of Senator John McCain, Senator Ted Kennedy, and President Joe Biden's son, Beau Biden.

The recent study was conducted on four patients with advanced stages of the disease. Following these promising results, Northwestern is now recruiting patients for a clinical trial to evaluate the treatment's safety and its potential to prolong survival.