Chemotherapy is capable of successfully treating many forms of cancer, but it has side effects that are chaotic for the rest of the body. However, if the life saving drugs are delivered directly to cancer cells, these symptoms could be reduced. Researchers have developed fish-shaped microrobots that are guided with magnets to cancer cells, where a pH change triggers them to open their mouths and release their chemotherapy cargo, to do just that. Read more for a short video and additional information.
To achieve this, the researchers 4D printed microrobots in the shape of a crab, butterfly or fish using a pH-responsive hydrogel. The team encoded pH-responsive shape morning by adjusting the printing density at certain areas of the shape, such as the edges of the crab’s claws or the butterfly’s wings. These tiny robots were made magnetic by placing them in a suspension of iron oxide nanoparticles.
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Although this study is a promising proof of concept, the microrobots need to be made even smaller to navigate actual blood vessels, and a suitable imaging method needs to be identified to track their movements in the body, the researchers say,” said the research team.