Shape-morphing Microrobots Can Deliver and ‘Vomit’ Drugs Directly on Cancer Cells

Chemotherapy successfully treats many forms of cancer, but the side effects can wreak havoc on the rest of the body. That is why Scientists have been looking for new ways to treat cancer for years now and may have found the solution.

Researchers have been looking into Nanorobots to treat cancer cells directly, which will help reduce the side effects and give more effective results. By using 3D printing technology, they were able to print a fish-like micro-bot that is steered by magnets, and only release their drug payload when they encounter the acidic environment around the tumour. Tumours often exist in the microenvironment which means the robot will be equipped with small tools to change shape and deliver treatment in response to lowered pH levels.

In lab tests, the team used magnets to guide a fish-like microrobot through simulated blood vessels, towards a cluster of cancer cells at one end. In that region, the team made the solution slightly more acidic, and the fish opened its mouth and ‘vomited’ out the drugs on cue, effectively killing the cancer cells. In other tests, crab microrobots could be made to clasp drug nanoparticles with their claws, scuttle to a target location, and release them.

Currently, this is just proof of the concept, however, data from this new test could open new doors to cancer treatment.