Department of Anatomy, Fukuoka University School of Medicine, 7-45-1, Nanakuma, Jonan, 814-0180, Fukuoka, Japan
Available online 8 October 2004.
Ultrasound has been in use in medicine for half a century as a modality for diagnostic imaging and therapy. Recently, there have been numerous reports on the application of thermal and nonthermal ultrasound energy for treating various diseases in the brain. In addition to thermal ablation of brain tumors, nonthermal ultrasound combined with drugs has led to much excitement especially for vascular diseases in the brain and regenerative medicine. Ultrasound energy can enhance the effects of thrombolytic agents such as urokinase for treatment of stroke. Therapeutic ultrasound catheters are currently being developed. Noninvasive methods such as high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) in conjunction with magnetic resonance image (MRI) and CT are already being applied in the clinical field. Chemical activation of drugs by ultrasound energy for treatment of tumors is another new field recently termed “Sonodynamic Therapy”. Combination of genes and microbubble has induced great hopes for application of gene therapy to the brain. Various examples of ultrasound combined modalities are under investigation which could lead to revolutionary brain therapy.
Keywords: Drug delivery; Brain; Stroke; Gene therapy