Using medical microbots to treat liver cancerNews

A microscopic wire called a “catheter” is inserted into a blood vessel.
When a substance that can block the blood vessels is introduced into the catheter, the circulation of blood and the supply of nutrients are interrupted.
This technique is called “embolization” and is used to prevent tumor growth.

When treating cancer, sometimes a chemotherapy drug is injected into the blood vessels before they are blocked.

But the problem with embolization is that it can be difficult to insert chemotherapy drugs or embolic agents into the veins if they are very small.
There is also the risk of the drug flowing back.
A South Korean research team has suggested solving this problem by implementing what is called “medical microrobotic technology”.

First, cancer drugs are attached to magnetic nanoparticles before being injected into blood vessels.
Then, a magnetic field is applied, making it possible to precisely orient and control the nanoparticles in the direction of the tumor.
The use of a magnetic field to secure embolic agents in place also decreases the risk of backflow.

“The technology precisely targets the liver wall using delivered embolic agents, an electromagnetic field device capable of moving these agents, and navigational information from X-rays.”

The main objective of the researchers is to develop chemoembolization of the hepatic artery to treat liver cancer.
It is currently the most widely used technique to treat liver cancer, and is expected to reach a global market of US$2.4 billion by 2026.

Our goal is to dramatically increase efficiency by implementing advanced technologies such as medical microrobots on existing procedures.”

The same researchers claim to have demonstrated the feasibility of the technology by performing animal experiments.
They plan to develop a prototype that can be used in humans over the next five years, and then verify its safety and effectiveness through real-life clinical practice for another two years.
Jeong Eun-joo, Arirang News.

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