Convection-Enhanced Delivery — Overcoming the Bottleneck in Brain Drug Development

Malignant midbrain tumors, including diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas (DIPGs), are among the most lethal cancers in younger populations. The presence of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) often leads to failure of conventional systemic drug delivery for cerebral diseases. Thus, the challenge is to find an effective way to deliver a therapeutic agent to the tumor and infiltrate cells that are not located in the tumor bed. Therefore, methods that can enhance drug delivery to the brain are of great interest.

Convection-enhanced delivery (CED) is a local drug delivery technique that bypasses the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and enhances drug distribution by utilizing hydraulic pressure to deliver infusate directly into a target region. Hence, CED represents a technique with promising potential in central nervous system treatment. The Experimental Drug and Therapeutics for Pediatric Brain Tumor Lab is investigating the feasibility, safety and toxicity of single and multidrug combinations of small-molecule kinase inhibitors delivered by CED to animal brains. Dr. Daniels' research team is working to identify a suitable procedure using CED that will move forward to clinical trials in people with newly diagnosed high-grade tumors found in the midbrain.