Convection-enhanced delivery (CED) describes a novel method of drug delivery to the brain through intraparenchymal microcatheters. One of the barriers to effective translation of CED to clinical trials is the requirement for intermittent delivery over prolonged periods. This is particularly relevant for delivery of neurotrophins for the treatment of Parkinson's disease where chronic infusion of glial cell-line derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) with subcutaneously implanted pumps has been associated with poor distribution and local toxicity due to point source accumulation. We have previously described the development of an implantable catheter for CED which facilitates repeated drug administrations at intervals of up to one month. The aim of this study was to determine the feasibility of implanting a transcutaneous bone-anchored port (TBAP) which facilitates chronic intermittent drug delivery to the brain. We describe the design and development of a titanium port which was implanted in Large White and NIH miniature pigs for periods of up to three months. By intermittently accessing the port with a needle administration set it was possible to repeatedly perform CED infusions at one month intervals. This study confirms the safety and feasibility of performing intermittent CED through a transcutaneous bone-anchored port. The use of a transcutaneous port has the potential to facilitate clinical translation of CED of therapeutics requiring intermittent delivery to achieve optimum efficacy whilst negating the need for subcutaneously implanted pumps.
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