We use intrathecal chemotherapy to treat cancers that have reached the central nervous system, including some types of leukemia and lymphoma.
Typically, chemotherapy drugs do not pass through the blood-brain barrier. This chemotherapy technique delivers chemotherapy drugs directly into the cerebrospinal fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord to target cancer cells that have spread there.
Intrathecal chemotherapy is delivered through a lumbar puncture (spinal tap) or a device placed under the scalp. Patients typically need to lay flat after the treatment to allow the chemotherapy to reach all areas of the spinal cord and brain. We offer a variety of integrative oncology services to help make our patients comfortable during this time, including relaxation therapies from mind-body medicine and acupuncture.