Laser Guided Microbots shows Prominent Action in Destroying Tumor Cells

Release Date: 26-Sep-2019

Some of the diseases or illness is difficult to treat and the medicine is not able to treat the illness. So, researchers at Caltech have implemented another method to control the incurable diseases. They use lasers to guide microbots inside the body to deliver medicine directly to tumors deep inside the body.


The microrobots are microscopic spheres made up of magnesium metal. They are almost completely coated with thin layers of gold and parylene. This coating acts as a barrier, which prevents the microbots from the digestive enzymes and other chemicals of body.


 During coating, a small portion remains uncoated, which is used to deliver the drug. So, after the microbots are taken orally and are in the stomach, the magnesium inside react with the fluids in the digestive tract, generating small bubbles. The stream of bubbles acts like a jet and propels the sphere forward until it collides with nearby tissue.


The modification of the microbots is done by Wang and Gao. At first, a layer of medication is inserted between the magnesium and parylene coating. Then they are encapsulated into the microcapsules made up of paraffin. It protects the sphere containing medication from the harsh environment. Now, the spheres made by can carry drugs, but still lack the crucial ability to deliver them to a desired location. To achieve the delivery of drug, Wang and Gao use photoacoustic computed tomography (PACT), a technique developed by Wang that uses pulses of infrared laser light. 


The infrared radiation is used as a source of energy, which when fall on the oxygen-carrying haemoglobin, results in oscillation of molecules. These ultrasonic vibrations are picked up by the sensors of the microbots. This results in the production of internal structures of the body. 


When the microbots come near the tumor, a wave of high power activates them. They absorb the infrared light and heat up, which results in the melting of wax capsule surrounding them and exposing the magnesium to digestive fluids. After that, the microbot bubble jets activate and they began swarming. Not all the microbots hit the target, but most of them are able to hit the target and sticks on the surface of target. After that they began releasing the medication.


According to Gao, these microbots can penetrate the mucus of the digestive tract and remain in place releasing medicine for a long time. This improves medicine delivery. He also added that he would like to develop variations of the microrobots that operate in other parts of the body, and with different types of propulsion systems.

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