Nanorobots that target Cancerous Tumors with Precision

A nexus between technology and health sector is much needed, to improve the situations for better lives. Cancer has dragged in a lot of researchers and scientists to work on the permanent cure for it. As, there is no cure but only treatment for the deadly disease, cancer. There have been studies on the same with remarkable results. In this context, a study undertaken by the researchers from McGill University, Université de Montréal and Polytechnique Montréal together, stands as remarkable.

Tumor cells that are rapidly proliferative create a hypoxic zone by substantially consuming oxygen. These hypoxic regions are generally resistant to therapies including radiotherapy. It is difficult to attain access to these tumors because of the physiological complex microenvironments, that stand in the way. This is the main reason that led researchers to adopt nanotechnology, to reach out to these areas.

The researchers together have created nanorobots that can travel through the hypoxic regions of the tumor. The nanorobots are capable of navigating down the blood stream to administer a drug by targeting the active cancerous cells of tumors, with precision. When nanorobots enter the tumor can identify the hypoxic regions and deliver the drug, thereon.

Professor Sylvain Martel, holder of the Canada Research Chair in Medical Nanorobotics and Director of the Polytechnique Montréal Nanorobotics Laboratory, who heads the research team’s work explained that, “These legions of nanorobotic 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.” He further added that “The drug’s propelling force was enough to travel efficiently and enter deep inside the tumors.”

To enable the nanorobots to reach the tumor area researchers have relied on two natural systems. A synthesis of a chain of magnetic nanoparticles enable the bacteria to move in the direction of the magnetic field. While the sensor measuring oxygen concentration levels enable it to reach and remain in the tumor active region. The magnetic field is controlled by the computer, thereby ensuring the path of the nanorobots to the tumor active area.

Professor Martel on using such a transportation system claims that such an innovation paves the way to the creation of new vehicles for therapeutic, imaging and diagnostic agents. He further explained that the side effects of Chemotherapy can even be avoided using such a technology.

Nanorobots with such a precise navigation system from the injected area to the desired area eliminate the excess dosage of the drug. Further, such magnetic field enabled transportation, helps in avoiding harmful side effects. This study published in the journal of Nature Nanotechnology in a study titled “Magneto-aerotactic bacteria deliver drug-containing nanoliposomes to tumor hypoxic regions,” is definitely path breaking in treating various diseases.



Shobith MAKAM Written by:

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