1 min readDeveloped Biodegradable Anti-Cancer Treatment Micro-Robot

Daegu, South Korea — Professor Hongsoo Choi’s research team in Department of Robotics Engineering & DGIST-ETH Microrobot Research Center (DEMRC) at DGIST (President Young Kuk) succeeded in developing a biodegradable microrobot that can perform hyperthermia treatment and control drug release. This research can treat cancer cells through hyperthermia and controlled drug release more precisely and systematically, expecting to raise the safety and efficiency of anti-cancer treatment.

Anti-cancer treatment is carried out in various ways such as drug and hyperthermia, radiation, and medical surgery. Although drug treatment is the most commonly used method among them, it is difficult to deliver a desired amount accurately to a certain part because it highly depends on the circulatory function of body. Hyperthermia is hard to be delivered to a certain part as well despite its recent popularity due to little side-effects. To overcome these limitations, Professor Hongsoo Choi’s research team at DGIST developed 3D bio-degradable microrobots that can hold magnetic nano particles and drugs with 3D laser lithography process1. 

To use a microrobot inside human body, it must go through an in vivo degradation or retrieved after use to minimize additional harmful effects. As a result, the research team made a microrobot with a biodegradable polymer and designed it to be bio-degraded after it is completely used. It can also carry out transport of drugs fast and accurately through wireless control using external magnetic field.

When a high frequency of alternating magnetic field2 is given to the robot that reached a desired part, the heat generated from the magnetic nano particles inside the microrobot raise the surrounding temperature to perform hyperthermia treatment on the target area. A big achievement of this research is enabling accurate drug release by controlling the intensity and exposure time of alternating magnetic field. The research team confirmed the significant effectiveness of hyperthermia treatment using microrobot on cancer cells cultured in vitro and the therapeutic effects of different drug release modes controlled by alternating magnetic field. 

Professor Choi in the DEMRC said “We expect to improve the treatment of cancer through our research, enhancing the efficiency of cancer treatment and reducing side-effects. By continuously performing a follow-up research with hospitals and related firms, we will strive to develop microrobot-based precise treatment system that can be used in actual medical sites.”

Article adapted from a DGIST (Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology) news release.

Publication: Magnetically Actuated Degradable Microrobots for Actively Controlled Drug Release and Hyperthermia Therapy. Park, J et al. Advanced Healthcare Materials (July 10, 2019): Click here to view.

biodegradable, hyperthermia, microrobot

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