Thursday, November 27, 2014

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A computer-generated image of a bacteriobot in action. A Chonnam National University research team has succeeded in developing bacteriobots that can diagnose and treat cancer.
A computer-generated image of a bacteriobot in action. A Chonnam National University research team has succeeded in developing bacteriobots that can diagnose and treat cancer.
17 December 2013

A Korean research team has successfully developed bacteriobots that can diagnose and treat cancer. This bacteria-based robot is expected to be utilized to develop new treatments for cancer and various microrobots or nanorobots for medical purposes in the future.

A bacteriobot research team from Chonnam National University announced on December 16 that it confirmed the propensity of bacteriobots to migrate toward tumors and their tumor targeting ability with animal testing.

According to the team, bacteria and bacteriobots displayed minimal changes in normal cells, but those bacteriobots moved toward tumor cells with increasing speed, and thus cell density grew. In addition, the research team verified bacteriobots’ tumor targeting capability and their existence in tumor tissues by injecting bacteria-based robots into tumor-bearing mice via tail veins and conducting an immunohistochemical study three days after the injection.

Bacteriobots are made up of bacteria and 3µm-sized microstructures filled with anticancer drugs.Bacteriobots are made up of bacteria and 3µm-sized microstructures filled with anticancer drugs.

Genetically-modified non-toxic bacteria move inside tissues or blood with flagella, and find tumors by pushing microstructures and targeting certain drugs secreted by cancer cells. Upon the arrival of bacteriobots in the tumor region, anticancer drugs that come from microstructures are spread onto the surface of tumors at a speed of 5µm/s on average.

Park Jong-oh from the School of Mechanical Systems Engineering at Chonnam National University said, “The importance of this research lies in the development of a new medical nanorobot and an active drug delivery carrier that can overcome the limits of conventional methods to diagnose and treat cancer.” Park added, “Our future plan is to develop medical microrobots or nanorobots capable of diagnosing and treating a lot of hard-to-treat illnesses through the convergence of medicine and engineering in our research.”

The research article, titled “New paradigm for tumor theranostic methodology using bacteria-based microrobot,” was published online in the December 2 issue of Scientific Reports, a scientific journal published by the Nature Publishing Group. 

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