Focused ultrasound opening of the blood–brain barrier for treatment of Parkinson's disease

Peter A. LeWitt, Nir Lipsman, Jeffrey H. Kordower

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


The expanding landscape of options for Parkinson's disease (PD) therapeutics calls for novel ways to improve delivery of treatments to counteract neurodegeneration or enhance symptomatic control. This unmet need is particularly relevant for opportunities in gene therapy, which, in recent PD clinical trials, has required invasive neurosurgical approaches into the CNS. One of the promising techniques to bring new therapies into the brain for PD therapeutics involves an evolving technology, focused ultrasound. Focused ultrasound has been used to alleviate tremor by thermal ablation with high-energy sonication. Using similar equipment but much lower sonication energy, focused ultrasound assisted with micro-bubbles can temporarily open the blood–brain barrier at specific brain targets to facilitate real-time magnetic resonance–guided delivery of therapeutic agents. To explore the current status and future of focused ultrasound in transvascular therapeutics for PD, a November 2018 workshop reviewed its accomplishments and challenges. This report summarizes key points of discussion and provides further background to the promising roles focused ultrasound offers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1274-1278
Number of pages5
JournalMovement Disorders
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Parkinson's disease
  • blood-brain barrier
  • focused ultrasound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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