Advertisement
The legions of nanorobotic agents are actually composed of more than 100 million flagellated bacteria -- and therefore self-propelled -- and loaded with drugs that moved by taking the most direct path between the drug's injection point and the area of the body to cure. (Credit: Montréal Nanorobotics Laboratory)

Scientists have created nanorobotics agents that make their way through the blood stream and deliver-drug containing nanoliposomes to tumor regions, a new study reports.

The researchers say this form of drug delivery could reduce the risk of injury to organs and healthy tissues surrounding the cancerous tumor.

For the study, published in Nature Nanotechnology, scientists successfully administered the nanorobots to mice with colorectal tumors.

“These legions of nanorobotics agents were actually composed of more than 100 million flagellated bacteria – and therefore self-propelled- and loaded with drugs that moved by taking the most direct path between the drug’s injection point and the area of the body to cure,” lead researcher professor Sylvain Martel, Director of the Polytechnique Montréal Nanorobotics Laboratory, said in a prepared statement. “The drug’s propelling force was enough to travel efficiently and enter deep inside the tumor.”

The autonomous nanorobots detect hypoxic zones – which are oxygen-depleted areas in the tumor known to be resistant to therapies such as radiation – and deliver the drugs.

The bacteria use two methods as a compass – magnetic nanoparticles that are exposed to a computer-controlled magnetic field and a sensor that measures oxygen concentrations, keeping them in the right zone for drug delivery.

“This innovative use of nanotransporters will have an impact not only on creating more advanced engineering concepts and original intervention methods, but it also throws the door wide open to the synthesis of new vehicles for therapeutic, imaging, and diagnostic agents,” Martel said.

Martel noted that chemotherapy is very toxic to the body, and these natural nanorobots could help deliver a more effective targeted therapy without the harmful side effects.

Contributing Editor/Science Writer
Advertisement
Advertisement