Blood–brain barrier opening with low intensity pulsed ultrasound for immune modulation and immune therapeutic delivery to CNS tumors

Kevin Beccaria, Aria Sabbagh, John de Groot, Michael Canney, Alexandre Carpentier, Amy B. Heimberger

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Introduction: Opening of the blood–brain barrier (BBB) by pulsed low intensity ultrasound has been developed during the last decade and is now recognized as a safe technique to transiently and repeatedly open the BBB. This non- or minimally invasive technique allows for a targeted and uniform dispersal of a wide range of therapeutic substances throughout the brain, including immune cells and antibodies. Methods: In this review article, we summarize pre-clinical studies that have used BBB-opening by pulsed low intensity ultrasound to enhance the delivery of immune therapeutics and effector cell populations, as well as several recent clinical studies that have been initiated. Based on this analysis, we propose immune therapeutic strategies that are most likely to benefit from this strategy. The literature review and trial data research were performed using Medline/Pubmed databases and clinical trial registry The reference lists of all included articles were searched for additional studies. Results: A wide range of immune therapeutic agents, including small molecular weight drugs, antibodies or NK cells, have been safely and efficiently delivered to the brain with pulsed low intensity ultrasound in preclinical models, and both tumor control and increased survival have been demonstrated in different types of brain tumor models in rodents. Ultrasound-induced BBB disruption may also stimulate innate and cellular immune responses. Conclusions: Ultrasound BBB opening has just recently entered clinical trials with encouraging results, and the association of this strategy with immune therapeutics creates a new field of brain tumor treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of neuro-oncology
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2020


  • Blood–brain barrier
  • Drug delivery
  • Immunotherapy
  • Low intensity pulsed ultrasound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cancer Research

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Blood–brain barrier opening with low intensity pulsed ultrasound for immune modulation and immune therapeutic delivery to CNS tumors'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this