Your browser does not support JavaScript!

Author : admin | Thursday, 30 May 2019

Tiny Robots Carry Stem Cells Through a Mouse

Author : admin | Thursday, 30 May 2019

Engineers have built micro-robots to perform all sorts of tasks in the body, and can now add to that list another key skill: delivering stem cells. In a paper published today in Science Robotics, researchers summarize propelling a magnetically-controlled, stem-cell-carrying bot through a live mouse.

 

Under a rotating magnetic field, the micro-robots moved with rolling and corkscrew-style locomotion. The experts, led by Hong Soo Choi and his team at the Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science & Technology (DGIST), in South Korea, also confirmed their bot’s moves in slices of mouse brain, in blood vessels isolated from rat brains, and in a multi-organ-on-a chip.

 

The invention supplies an alternative way to deliver stem cells, which are significantly essential in medicine. Such cells can be coaxed into becoming nearly any kind of cell, making them great candidates for treating neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s.

 

But supplying stem cells usually demands an injection with a needle, which lowers the survival rate of the stem cells, and restricts their reach in the body. Micro-robots, however, have the potential to deliver stem cells to precise, hard-to-reach areas, with less damage to surrounding tissue, and better survival rates, says Jin-young Kim, a principle investigator at DGIST-ETH Micro-robotics Research Center, and an author on the paper.

 

The virtues of micro-robots have encouraged several research groups to propose and test many designs in simple conditions, such as micro-fluidic channels and other static environments. A group out of Hong Kong last year described a burr-shaped bot that carried cells through live, transparent zebra-fish.

 

The new study exhibits a magnetically-actuated micro-robot that efficiently carried stem cells through a live mouse. In additional experiments, the cells, which had differentiated into brain cells such as astrocytes, oligodendrocytes, and neurons, transferred to micro-tissues on the multi-organ-on-a-chip. Taken together, the proof-of-concept experiments demonstrate the potential for micro-robots to be used in human stem cell therapy, says Kim.

 

Under a rotating magnetic field, the micro-robots moved with rolling and corkscrew-style locomotion. The researchers, led by Hongsoo Choi and his team at the Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science & Technology (DGIST), in South Korea, also exhibited their bot’s moves in slices of mouse brain, in blood vessels isolated from rat brains, and in a multi-organ-on-a chip.

 

The invention provides an alternative way to deliver stem cells, which are extremely essential in medicine. Such cells can be coaxed into becoming nearly any kind of cell, making them great candidates for treating neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s.

 

But delivering stem cells typically requires an injection with a needle, which lowers the survival rate of the stem cells, and limits their reach in the body. Micro-robots, however, have the potential to deliver stem cells to precise, hard-to-reach areas, with less damage to surrounding tissue, and better survival rates, says Jin-young Kim, a principle investigator at DGIST-ETH Micro-robotics Research Center, and an author on the paper.

 

The virtues of micro-robots have motivated several research groups to propose and test different designs in simple conditions, such as micro-fluidic channels and other static environments. A group out of Hong Kong last year described a burr-shaped bot that carried cells through live, transparent zebrafish.

 

The new research provides a magnetically-actuated micro-robot that efficiently carried stem cells through a live mouse. In additional experiments, the cells, which had classified into brain cells such as astrocytes, oligodendrocytes, and neurons, transferred to micro-tissues on the multi-organ-on-a-chip. Taken together, the proof-of-concept experiments demonstrate the potential for micro-robots to be used in human stem cell therapy, says Kim. 

 

The team fabricated the robots with 3D laser lithography, and fashioned them in two shapes: spherical and helical. Using a rotating magnetic field, the scientists navigated the spherical-shaped bots with a rolling motion, and the helical bots with a corkscrew motion. These styles of locomotion proved more efficient than that from a simple pulling force, and were more ideal for use in biological fluids, the scientists reported.

 

The big challenge in navigating micro-bots in a live animal (or human body) is being set to see them in real time. Imaging with fMRI doesn’t work, because the magnetic fields interfere with the system. “ To precisely control micro-bots in vivo, it is significant to actually see them as they move,” the authors wrote in their paper.

 

That wasn’t available during experiments in a live mouse, so the researchers had to check the location of the micro-robots before and after the experiments using an optical tomography system called IVIS. They also had to resort to using a pulling force with a permanent magnet to navigate the micro-robots inside the mouse, due to the limitations of the IVIS system.

 

Kim says he and his colleagues are developing imaging systems that will enable them to view in real time the locomotion of their micro-robots in live animals.



This article is originally posted on IEEESPECTRUM.com

engineering micro robts tiny robots

COMMENTS

Tronserve Announcement

Tronserve Form! Where the Hottest Industrial Topics are discussed!

Popular Articles
Popular articles will appear here.
Follow Tronserve