Cerebrospinal fluid detection showing inserted sensor strip and four-digit readout. (Credit: Minghan Xian, et al.)

Researchers have developed a low-cost, easy-to-use, and highly precise focused ultrasound (FUS) device that can be used on small animal models in preclinical research.

The FUS transducer, created inhouse using a 3D printer, costs about $80 to fabricate. It can be integrated with a commercially available stereotactic frame to precisely target a mouse brain. The device achieves submillimeter targeting accuracy and has a tunable drug-delivery outcome. In addition, using higher frequency FUS transducers decreased the blood-brain barrier (BBB) opening volume and improved the precision of FUS-BBB opening in targeting individual structures in the mouse brain. To create the transducer, the team connected wires to the electrodes on the elements. The rest of the parts were made on a 3D printer. With the use of a stereotactic frame, the team was able to target the exact location they wanted in the brain, which eliminated one of the barriers to more widespread use of the FUS technique. The design is available on Github. The team used contrast-enhanced MRI to measure the BBB opening volume at different acoustic pressures.

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