Tiny Robots Speed Up Delivery of Meds to Lung Tumors

Tiny Robots Speed Up Delivery of Meds to Lung Tumors
Tiny Robots Speed Up Delivery of Meds to Lung Tumors. Credit | Getty images

United States: Researchers have created tiny robots that can enter the lungs and carry chemotherapy straight to the cells  which are responsible for lung cancer. According to a paper published on recently in the journal Science Advances, these microbots increased the average survival time of lab mice with melanoma that had progressed to the lungs during early testing.

Innovative Technology

 Professor Liangfang Zhang, a researcher at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), said, “This is a platform technology that can actively and efficiently deliver therapeutics throughout the entire lung tissue to combat different types of deadly diseases in the lungs.”

According to experts, the microbots are made up of drug-filled nanoparticles affixed to green algal cells’ surfaces.

Thanks to the algae’s tendency  to swim inside the lungs, the very tiny particals can locate tumors and administer chemotherapy to them.

The nanoparticles themselves are made up of tiny, biodegradable polymer spheres. After they have been loaded with the chemotherapy medication doxorubicin, red blood cell membranes are applied to the particles.

 Lead researcher Zhengxing Li, a PhD student in nanoengineering at UCSD, clarified that the red blood cell coating shields the particles from the immune system.

Li stated in a news release from the university, “It acts as a camouflage.” “This coating prevents an immune response by making the nanoparticle appear like a natural red blood cell.”

Experimental Success

 The microbots were given to the mice via a tiny tube put into their windpipe. Compared to untreated mice, who had an average survival time of 27 days, treated animals had an average survival time of 37 days.

 According to Li, “the microrobots‘ active swimming motion significantly improved drug distribution to the deep lung tissue while prolonging retention time.” “We were able to lower the needed medication dosage, possibly lowering side effects while retaining good survival efficacy,” the researcher said, citing the improved dispersion and extended retention period.

Mechanism of Action

The study is still in its early stages, and experts point out that not all research done on animals is beneficial to people.

 The team intends to try the microbot therapy on larger animals next to prepare for upcoming clinical studies involving humans.