New Model May Help Researchers Overcome the Brain’s Fortress-Like Barrier

The brain is protected by a highly selective or near impermeable membrane barrier, called the blood brain barrier (BBB). It may protect the brain but also prevents the treatment of many brain diseases. The blood brain barrier is very complex and difficult for scientists to breach. Most of the drugs find it difficult to make their way into the brain to treat brain tumors. Research team at the University of Portsmouth have developed a model that behaves or mimics as the blood brain barrier.

The most common way currently used by the medics in getting access to the brain is by using a catheter (thin flexible hollow tube) to deliver drugs which bypasses the blood brain barrier. The main goal of the researcher’s was to develop a 3D all-human reproducible an trusted model of the blood brain barrier using human cells. Initially non-human animal cells were used to build the blood brain barrier models. But this model will reduce the number of animals used for such studies and also reduces the time to get a favourable therapeutic use in the near future.

Lead of the research group Prof. Geoff Pilkington said. “This is the first real, 3D, all-human blood brain barrier model and it’s hugely significant in our field. Research will now widen to better understand how cancers metastasize from breast and lung to the brain as well as evaluating nano-particle drug delivery and making opportunities to create temporary openings in the barrier to allow drugs to pass through into the brain”.

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