Engineers at the University of California San Diego have developed microrobots that can swim through the lungs to deliver cancer drugs directly to metastatic tumors. These microrobots, a combination of green algae cells and drug-loaded nanoparticles, have shown promise in mice by inhibiting tumor growth and improving survival rates.

The microrobots, published in the journal Science Advances, are made by attaching drug-loaded biodegradable polymer nanoparticles to algae cells. The nanoparticles, coated with red blood cell membranes to evade the immune system, deliver the chemotherapy drug doxorubicin to tumors. In the tests, treated mice had an average survival time of 37 days, compared to 27 days for untreated mice.

This builds on previous work using microrobots to treat pneumonia. The researchers now aim to advance this technology to larger animal studies and eventually to human clinical trials.

Source: Science Daily