How new microbots will help in the treatment of cancer

On the pages of our portal, we have more than oncetold you about various microbes and tiny robots that can act like “doctors from the inside”, patrolling our bodies, looking for and destroying everything that could harm us. At the same time, an extremely promising area for the use of such microbots is the treatment of oncological diseases, because even one missing cell can cause a relapse of the process. And recently, these bots have developed scientists from the California Institute of Technology.

What are mirokbota

By themselves, the robots have a fairly simple structure. They represent a kind of capsule in the form of a "puff pie" of micromotors and active ingredient.

When the capsule reaches the tumor, we canactivate it, break the capsule, release the micromotors, and they will move around the tumor area. This movement is very important for drug delivery, says Wei Gao from Caltech.

The capsule is arranged as follows: It contains magnesium particles about 20 micrometers in diameter. First, a layer of gold covers magnesium, and then a layer of hydrogel containing preparations for fighting tumors, “wraps” everything else. On top of the capsule is covered with a layer of gelatinous substance. Gold and magnesium just act as micromotors. We will talk about how they work a little later, but for now let's move on to a series of experiments that were conducted by American scientists.

Microbe in the form of a capsule. Hole bottom - the beginning of the process of destruction of the shell

Microbots and cancer

A team of experts fed the resulting capsulesmice in which melanoma cells were implanted in the colon to mimic colon cancer. Melanoma was used because these cells absorb near infrared light well, so the team could better track the effects of capsules using photoacoustic computed tomography, which sends infrared light to tissues, where it is converted to sound and returned as an ultrasound image.

This is interesting: Scientists have figured out how to put the production of microbots on stream.

When the capsules reached the large intestine,the team sent a strong beam of infrared light to them. It heated gold and due to the temperature difference between the heating of gold and magnesium, these 2 metals, reacting, act like small motors. Due to the different density and the already mentioned temperature difference, the oscillation of metal particles creates something like vortices. Fluctuations in gold and magnesium are reminiscent of the work of propellers (approximately like in motorboats), which causes the microbots to move deeper into the tumor, releasing the drug in the process.

The use of drugs in the gastrointestinal tractis challenging because they can go further through the intestines before they work. We need something that provides long-term action. Microbits move around the tumor, so they can penetrate into the tissue of the tumor and slowly release the drug for a long time, ”says Gao.

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