2nd pediatric patient gets ultrasound treatment for brain tumor

A 6-year-old with a brain tumor at Children's National Hospital in Washington, D.C., has become the second pediatric recipient of an ultrasound treatment for this particular type of cancer, The Washington Post reported Sept. 25.

During the treatment, the patient is put to sleep with anesthesia and then a helmet with hundreds of tiny metallic devices send soundwaves into the brain tumor to open the organ's protective barriers and make way for a chemotherapy drug to be disseminated, according to the outlet.

The new treatment is part of a clinical trial at the hospital that aims to promote research into treatments for diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, the aggressive form of cancer affecting this patient, which is typically fatal. 

"There are a lot of unknowns," Hasan Syed, MD, the neurosurgeon who performed the treatment and the co-director of the ultrasound program at Children's National told the Post

Treating brain tumors with ultrasound was proven to be safe and effective in adults in 2015, however "doctors cannot rule out the possibility that it might cause undesirable side effects in children," the Post reported.

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