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HomeDigit NewsMagnetic-controlled microrobots will help treat liver cancer

Magnetic-controlled microrobots will help treat liver cancer

A group of researchers from Canada has learned to use microscopic robots to fight liver cancer. In combination with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines, this will help increase the effectiveness of treatment for patients with diagnosed diseases.

Microrobots

The robots are designed using magnetizable iron oxide nanoparticles and use a magnetic field to move them. But the gravitational force of microrobots exceeds the strength of the magnetic field, which limits their use in cases where the tumor is located above the injection site.

To solve this problem, scientists have developed an algorithm that determines the position in which the patient’s body is located during an MRI procedure. The authors of the experiment learned to adjust the direction of the magnetic field to correctly deliver microrobots to the desired areas of the liver. In fact, scientists decided to take advantage of gravity and combined it with the method of magnetic navigation.

“This combined effect allows microrobots to more easily reach the arterial branches feeding the tumor. By changing the direction of the magnetic field, we can precisely guide them to treatment sites and thus preserve healthy cells,” say the study authors.

Microrobots

During the experiment, the authors used 12 pigs to reproduce the anatomical conditions of potential patients. The microrobots followed the branches of the animal’s hepatic artery and reached the desired areas. In addition, using an anatomical atlas of the human liver, the scientists were able to simulate a pilot use of nanobots on 19 patients undergoing transarterial chemoembolization (cancer treatment by minimizing the blood supply to tumor tissue by completely or partially blocking a blood vessel).

In more than 95% of cases, the location of the tumor corresponded to the navigation algorithm, allowing the desired areas to be reached. Despite progress in clinical trials, large-scale application of this technology is still a long way off.

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