Applications of focused ultrasound-mediated blood-brain barrier opening

Adv Drug Deliv Rev. 2022 Dec:191:114583. doi: 10.1016/j.addr.2022.114583. Epub 2022 Oct 19.


The blood brain barrier (BBB) plays a critically important role in the regulation of central nervous system (CNS) homeostasis, but also represents a major limitation to treatments of brain pathologies. In recent years, focused ultrasound (FUS) in conjunction with gas-filled microbubble contrast agents has emerged as a powerful tool for transiently and non-invasively disrupting the BBB in a targeted and image-guided manner, allowing for localized delivery of drugs, genes, or other therapeutic agents. Beyond the delivery of known therapeutics, FUS-mediated BBB opening also demonstrates the potential for use in neuromodulation and the stimulation of a range of cell- and tissue-level physiological responses that may prove beneficial in disease contexts. Clinical trials investigating the safety and efficacy of FUS-mediated BBB opening are well underway, and offer promising non-surgical approaches to treatment of devastating pathologies. This article reviews a range of pre-clinical and clinical studies demonstrating the tremendous potential of FUS to fundamentally change the paradigm of treatment for CNS diseases.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Biological Transport
  • Blood-Brain Barrier*
  • Contrast Media
  • Drug Delivery Systems
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Microbubbles*


  • Contrast Media