Thanks to its intracranial implant, SonoCloud, Carthera is taking on one of the greatest challenges in modern medicine. This medical device uses ultrasound to increase the scope of current treatments.
Brain research today comes up against two barriers. The first is the still relative lack of understanding of how the brain works. The second is physical. This is the blood-brain barrier (BBB). This physiological barrier stands between the blood flow and the brain tissue. “If we find a way around it to push therapeutic molecules in a greater concentration, we will revolutionise the medical field in neurooncology and neurological indications in general,” explains Frédéric Sottilini, CEO of Carthera. The BBB protects the brain and prevents pathogenic molecules from entering, but it also prevents therapeutic substances from getting in.
Ultrasound makes microbubbles vibrate in the blood vessels of the brain. As a result, they place a physical strain on the vessel walls that distends the bonds between the cells that constitute them, allowing the molecules of chemotherapy or immunotherapy treatments to pass more effectively for 4 to 6 hours. Before each session, the barrier is opened by ultrasound and the patient is then treated.
The implant is positioned in the patient’s skull by way of conventional surgery and is then covered by the skin. It is, therefore, invisible, painless and compatible with medical imaging devices. The nurse activates it with a transdermal needle that connects the implant to an external ultrasound generator.
“Our goal is to change the prognosis of many brain diseases, and add months to survival and provide a better quality of life to patients with highly aggressive brain tumours,” Frédéric Sottilini, CEO of Carthera
A spin-off from AP-HP and Sorbonne Université, Carthera was founded in 2010 by Professor Alexandre Carpentier, head of the neurosurgery department at the Pitié Salpêtrière hospital in Paris. His work is behind the ongoing clinical trial in France and the United States, in Houston and Chicago, involving 33 patients with glioblastoma, a very aggressive brain tumour.
Carthera has been nominated for the Prix Galien Medstartup in the category “Best cooperation in the medtech or digital health sector” for two partnerships. One with the Northwestern Hospital in Chicago, the other with the American company, Lanteus Medical Imaging, world leader in the production of microbubbles of gas for medical use.