MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – A study conducted at the WVU Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute (RNI) has shown promise in treating Alzheimer’s patients.

The study, published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Neurosurgery and sponsored by Insightec, involves the use of low-intensity focused ultrasound to non-invasively open the blood-brain barrier (BBB) in multiple brain regions with beta amyloid deposits.

The noninvasive focused ultrasound was given to 10 participants with mild Alzheimer’s disease, aged 55 to 73, from the RNI and Weil Cornell Medical College. The treatment opened the blood-brain barrier in regions of the brain where beta amyloid plaques were present, including the hippocampus, the entorhinal cortex, and the frontal and parietal lobes. The BBB closed again between 24 to 48 hours, and no patients were reported as having any serious adverse events related to the procedure.  

“Our results are encouraging, demonstrating the safety of focused ultrasound in multiple brain locations with the potential for reduction in beta amyloid,” Ali Rezai, M.D., executive chair of the RNI, said. “This study is also a major step forward for the exciting possibility of combining focused ultrasound with targeted delivery of medications or antibodies that normally have limited capability to cross the blood brain barrier from the blood to the brain.”

“Insightec is committed to collaborating with leading researchers to advance the use of acoustic therapy in the brain,” Maurice R. Ferré, M.D., Insightec CEO and chairman of the board, said. “Use of our low-intensity focused ultrasound technology to open the blood-brain barrier for the clearance of amyloid plaques is an exciting advance that holds promise to become a paradigm shift in the treatment of patients with Alzheimer’s disease.”