Microscopically small submarines that can swim through our blood to clear out clogged arteries or destroy malignant tumors. This concept may sound utopian, but it isn’t. Various micro- and nanomachines have in fact already been developed. In the journal Angewandte Chemie, American researchers have now introduced a new type of machine that finally has enough propulsive power to penetrate tissue and overcome cellular barriers.
Previous approaches suffered from the fact that the tiny machines didn’t have enough power or lacked biocompatibility. A team led by Sadik Esener and Joseph Wang at the University of California, San Diego has now overcome this challenge. Their new type of micromachine owes its amazing power to ultrasound, which explosively vaporizes tiny drops of liquid, accelerating the machines like bullets.
These novel “microbullets” are conical, pointed, gold-coated tubes with dimensions on the micrometer scale. Their interior is additionally coated with a special biocompatible substance that is capable of binding tiny drops of emulsion through electrostatic interactions. The emulsion used is based on biocompatible perfluorocarbon compounds. An additional magnetic component (nickel) ensures that an external magnetic field can be used to direct the tube to the desired location and orientation.
When ultrasound is then directed at this location, the drops are explosively vaporized. Like bullets in a gun barrel, the tubes are pushed forward by the microexplosion. Depending on the dimensions of the tubes, the size and composition of the emulsion drops, and the strength of the ultrasound signal, speeds around 6.3 m/s can be attained. This is about one hundred times faster than previously reported micromachines, and is enough to shoot the tiny bullets into tissues. Because the fuel is “on board”, propulsion is independent of the environment.
There are a wide variety of possible applications: microbullets could be used to drive drugs deep into diseased tissue, shoot genes into cell nuclei for gene therapy, scrape deposits off of arterial walls, shoot antitumor drugs directly into a tumor, or even carry out micro-operations.A first area of application may be local stimulation of the immune system for fighting bladder cancer. In conventional treatment, a weakened form of the bacterium that causes tuberculosis is introduced to the bladder, causing a superficial bladder infection. This activates the immune system, which attacks the tumor cells as well as the tuberculosis bacteria. Instead of this approach, the microbullets could be shot into the bladder wall to initiate the desired inflammatory reaction – without the risks and side effects associated with the bacteria.
Angewandte Chemie International Edition, Permalink to the article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/anie.201201902
Joseph Wang | Angewandte Chemie
Further reports about: > Angewandte Chemie > Bullets > Microdroplets > Tissue Engineering > Ultrasound vaporization > biocompatible perfluorocarbon compounds > electrostatic interactions > healing > immune system > magnetic component > micro- and nanomachines > propulsion for therapeutic micromachines > tiny drops > ultrasound signal
Biophysicists reveal how optogenetic tool works
29.05.2020 | Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology
Mapping immune cells in brain tumors
29.05.2020 | University of Zurich
In living cells, enzymes drive biochemical metabolic processes enabling reactions to take place efficiently. It is this very ability which allows them to be used as catalysts in biotechnology, for example to create chemical products such as pharmaceutics. Researchers now identified an enzyme that, when illuminated with blue light, becomes catalytically active and initiates a reaction that was previously unknown in enzymatics. The study was published in "Nature Communications".
Enzymes: they are the central drivers for biochemical metabolic processes in every living cell, enabling reactions to take place efficiently. It is this very...
Early detection of tumors is extremely important in treating cancer. A new technique developed by researchers at the University of California, Davis offers a significant advance in using magnetic resonance imaging to pick out even very small tumors from normal tissue. The work is published May 25 in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.
researchers at the University of California, Davis offers a significant advance in using magnetic resonance imaging to pick out even very small tumors from...
Microelectronics as a key technology enables numerous innovations in the field of intelligent medical technology. The Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Engineering IBMT coordinates the BMBF cooperative project "I-call" realizing the first electronic system for ultrasound-based, safe and interference-resistant data transmission between implants in the human body.
When microelectronic systems are used for medical applications, they have to meet high requirements in terms of biocompatibility, reliability, energy...
Thomas Heine, Professor of Theoretical Chemistry at TU Dresden, together with his team, first predicted a topological 2D polymer in 2019. Only one year later, an international team led by Italian researchers was able to synthesize these materials and experimentally prove their topological properties. For the renowned journal Nature Materials, this was the occasion to invite Thomas Heine to a News and Views article, which was published this week. Under the title "Making 2D Topological Polymers a reality" Prof. Heine describes how his theory became a reality.
Ultrathin materials are extremely interesting as building blocks for next generation nano electronic devices, as it is much easier to make circuits and other...
Scientists took a leukocyte as the blueprint and developed a microrobot that has the size, shape and moving capabilities of a white blood cell. Simulating a blood vessel in a laboratory setting, they succeeded in magnetically navigating the ball-shaped microroller through this dynamic and dense environment. The drug-delivery vehicle withstood the simulated blood flow, pushing the developments in targeted drug delivery a step further: inside the body, there is no better access route to all tissues and organs than the circulatory system. A robot that could actually travel through this finely woven web would revolutionize the minimally-invasive treatment of illnesses.
A team of scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems (MPI-IS) in Stuttgart invented a tiny microrobot that resembles a white blood cell...
19.05.2020 | Event News
07.04.2020 | Event News
06.04.2020 | Event News
29.05.2020 | Materials Sciences
29.05.2020 | Materials Sciences
29.05.2020 | Power and Electrical Engineering