Scientists at the University of Illinois have built ‘micro robots’ that could be guided by light to attack tumours.
It’s hoped that these so called ‘bio-bots’, or biological robots, will soon be able to carry diagnostic materials or take medicines direct to a tumour by following the beam from a special torch. The bio-bots are made from rings of muscle cells gathered together around a central core that is manufactured on a 3D printer.
The bio-bots measure between 7 mm and 2 cm and the University of Illinois bioengineers have added two small legs to the prototypes. The bio-bots are trained by flashing lights at them, which has the added effect of exercising the cells and making them much stronger.
The bio-bots move only slowly as yet but researchers hope they’ll be ready for trials in a couple of years.
Source: The Times, 15 March 2016
‘Astounding’ results with nanotechnology in the lab
Meanwhile scientists at the Methodist Research Institute in Houston, Texas, say their new cancer treatment using nano-technology has had ‘astounding’ results in trials on mice.
They believe that using nanotechnology will mean that secondary or metastatic cancers in soft tissues, such as the liver or the lungs, could be targeted more effectively.
The system works by introducing an anti-cancer drug to an injectable nanoparticle generator – a nanoporous silicon material that degrades naturally in the body. The nano particles can reach the nucleus of the cancer cell and then release the drug to kill the cancer.
Tests on mice with breast cancer that had spread to the lungs showed that half of them were cured of the disease.