Hannah Rose Mendoza
Originally published December 21, 2017
The blood-brain barrier (BBB) may sound like a rating system for avoiding horror movies, but in reality it is a semi-permeable membrane responsible for restricting and regulating the entry of neurotoxic compounds, diseases, and circulating blood into the brain. It exists as a defense mechanism to protect the brain from direct contact with damaging entities carried in the body. Normally, this is something that is important to maintain as a strong defense; however, there are times when medical treatments require the ability to trespass beyond this biological barrier without damaging it. This is especially true now in the era of nanomedicine, when therapeutic treatments have been developed to combat brain cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, and even the effects of trauma-based brain damage.
In order to advance medical research in these important areas, it has been important to operate in an environment that accurately represents the BBB. As such, researchers have turned to animal subjects, something which comes with significant ethical and moral questions.
The story is here.