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  • Author or Editor: John A. Butman x
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Gregory J. A. Murad, Stuart Walbridge, Paul F. Morrison, Nicholas Szerlip, John A. Butman, Edward H. Oldfield and Russell R. Lonser


To determine if the potent antiglioma chemotherapeutic agent gemcitabine could be delivered to the brainstem safely at therapeutic doses while monitoring its distribution using a surrogate magnetic resonance (MR) imaging tracer, the authors used convection-enhanced delivery to perfuse the primate brainstem with gemcitabine and Gd–diethylenetriamine pentaacetic acid (DTPA).


Six primates underwent convective brainstem perfusion with gemcitabine (0.4 mg/ml; two animals), Gd-DTPA (5 mM; two animals), or a coinfusion of gemcitabine (0.4 mg/ml) and Gd-DTPA (5 mM; two animals), and were killed 28 days afterward. These primates were observed over time clinically (six animals), and with MR imaging (five animals), quantitative autoradiography (one animal), and histological analysis (all animals). In an additional primate, 3H-gemcitabine and Gd-DTPA were coinfused and the animal was killed immediately afterward.

In the primates there was no histological evidence of infusate-related tissue toxicity. Magnetic resonance images obtained during infusate delivery demonstrated that the anatomical region infused with Gd-DTPA was clearly distinguishable from surrounding noninfused tissue. Quantitative autoradiography confirmed that Gd-DTPA tracked the distribution of 3H-gemcitabine and closely approximated its volume of distribution (mean volume of distribution difference 13.5%).


Gemcitabine can be delivered safely and effectively to the primate brainstem at therapeutic concentrations and at volumes that are higher than those considered clinically relevant. Moreover, MR imaging can be used to track the distribution of gemcitabine by adding Gd-DTPA to the infusate. This delivery paradigm should allow for direct therapeutic application of gemcitabine to brainstem gliomas while monitoring its distribution to ensure effective tumor coverage and to maximize safety.

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David Croteau, Stuart Walbridge, Paul F. Morrison, John A. Butman, Alexander O. Vortmeyer, Dennis Johnson, Edward H. Oldfield and Russell R. Lonser

Object. Convection-enhanced delivery (CED) is increasingly used to distribute therapeutic agents to locations in the central nervous system. The optimal application of convective distribution of various agents requires the development of imaging tracers to monitor CED in vivo in real time. The authors examined the safety and utility of an iodine-based low-molecular-weight surrogate tracer for computerized tomography (CT) scanning during CED.

Methods. Various volumes (total volume range 90–150 µ1) of iopamidol (MW 777 D) were delivered to the cerebral white matter of four primates (Macaca mulatta) by using CED. The distribution of this imaging tracer was determined by in vivo real-time and postinfusion CT scanning (≤ 5 days after infusion [one animal]) as well as by quantitative autoradiography (14C-sucrose [all animals] and 14C-dextran [one animal]), and compared with a mathematical model. Clinical observation (≤ 5 months) and histopathological analyses were used to evaluate the safety and toxicity of the tracer delivery.

Real-time CT scanning of the tracer during infusion revealed a clearly definable region of perfusion. The volume of distribution (Vd) increased linearly (r2 = 0.97) with an increasing volume of infusion (Vi). The overall Vd/Vi ratio was 4.1 ± 0.7 (mean ± standard deviation) and the distribution of infusate was homogeneous. Quantitative autoradiography confirmed the accuracy of the imaged distribution for a small (sucrose, MW 359 D) and a large (dextran, MW 70 kD) molecule. The distribution of the infusate was identifiable up to 72 hours after infusion. There was no clinical or histopathological evidence of toxicity in any animal.

Conclusions. Real-time in vivo CT scanning of CED of iopamidol appears to be safe, feasible, and suitable for monitoring convective delivery of drugs with certain features and low infusion volumes.

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Russell R. Lonser, Stuart Walbridge, Kayhan Garmestani, John A. Butman, Hugh A. Walters, Alexander O. Vortmeyer, Paul F. Morrison, Martin W. Brechbiel and Edward H. Oldfield

Object. Intrinsic disease processes of the brainstem (gliomas, neurodegenerative disease, and others) have remained difficult or impossible to treat effectively because of limited drug penetration across the blood—brainstem barrier with conventional delivery methods. The authors used convection-enhanced delivery (CED) of a macromolecular tracer visible on magnetic resonance (MR) imaging to examine the utility of CED for safe perfusion of the brainstem.

Methods. Three primates (Macaca mulatta) underwent CED of various volumes of infusion ([Vis]; 85, 110, and 120 µl) of Gd-bound albumin (72 kD) in the pontine region of the brainstem during serial MR imaging. Infusate volume of distribution (Vd), homogeneity, and anatomical distribution were visualized and quantified using MR imaging. Neurological function was observed and recorded up to 35 days postinfusion. Histological analysis was performed in all animals. Large regions of the pons and midbrain were successfully and safely perfused with the macromolecular protein. The Vd was linearly proportional to the Vi (R2 = 0.94), with a Vd/Vi ratio of 8.7 ± 1.2 (mean ± standard deviation). Furthermore, the concentration across the perfused region was homogeneous. The Vd increased slightly at 24 hours after completion of the infusion, and remained larger until the intensity of infusion faded (by Day 7). No animal exhibited a neurological deficit after infusion. Histological analysis revealed normal tissue architecture and minimal gliosis that was limited to the region immediately surrounding the cannula track.

Conclusions. First, CED can be used to perfuse the brainstem safely and effectively with macromolecules. Second, a large-molecular-weight imaging tracer can be used successfully to deliver, monitor in vivo, and control the distribution of small- and large-molecular-weight putative therapeutic agents for treatment of intrinsic brainstem processes.