Written by: Tony Harris, November 29, 2015



The human body is truly an amazing piece of technology. Its functions cross the boundaries of so many fields of study; biology, physics, and chemistry, being the obvious ones. Like all complex organisms it has a hierarchy that protects and sacrifices. Hair, nails, epidermis, and teeth to a lesser extent, are discarded when their usefulness has run out.

I am not going to get into the argument of evolution verses intelligent design. I would venture the opinion that a design normally needs a prototype and if we count the Neanderthal as one, then we have to question why they didn’t lose the appendix in Homo sapiens Rev 2. But then one could argue that the evolution process should also have dispensed with it.

However, I digress, the Blood Brain Barrier (BBB), is an incredibly highly selective barrier that separates the blood circulating in the body’s blood stream from the brain and allows only the passage of select fluids and chemicals. It serves to protect the brain from poisons ingested, injected or developed inside the body. It is an extremely effective and protective screen; it is a MacAfee for the brain.

The downside is that sometimes drugs that one needs to get to the brain are filtered out. Tumor treating drugs are stopped at the BBB. This hampers our ability to treat patients with brain tumors.

Earlier this month the BBB was broken for the first time, by researchers in the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto. This is a very important achievement in the advancement of treatment for brain cancer and elucidates the breadth of treatments utilizing therapeutic ultrasound.


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