Microrobots guided to targets inside the body using endoscopy and magnetism
Trying to get treatments to a precise location in the body is a bit like navigating an intricate maze of tunnels, with a blindfold and no map. Microrobots are miniature devices developed to cruise through the body and deliver drugs to specific hard-to-reach places in the body, but covering much distance is a real challenge. A new approach uses endoscopy – the common technique that slips a camera tube down the throat and into the body – to deposit the bots with a head start, and then uses magnetic forces to take them the rest of the way. The microrobots (left, from the outside) contain magnetic particles (right, blue) and stem cells (pink). After the microrobots are inserted, researchers view their motion by ultrasound, steering the flexible shapes accurately through the body’s tiny crevices. This combined approach could light the way for custom treatments to be directed to precise targets.
BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.
BPoD is also available in Catalan at www.bpod.cat with translations by the University of Valencia.