Join the club for FREE to access the whole archive and other member benefits.

Magnet-controlled bacteria fights cancer without causing pain


Key points from article :

Scientists combined robotics with biology by equipping E. coli bacteria with artificial components to construct biohybrid microrobots.

Treating cancer by injecting bacteria in proximity is known as bacteria mediated tumor therapy.

E. coli bacteria are fast and versatile and have highly advanced sensing capabilities.

For the past few decades, scientists have looked for ways to increase the superpowers of this microorganism even further.

Attached several nanoliposomes and magnetic nanoparticles to 86 out of 100 bacteria.

When exposed to a magnetic field, the iron oxide particles control the swimming of bacteria.

Microorganisms flow to where the tumor is located, grow there and activate the immune system of patients.

Once the microrobots are accumulated at the desired point, a near infrared laser melts the liposome and release the enclosed drugs.

A low pH level or acidic environment also break open nanoliposomes, releasing the drugs near a tumor automatically.

"..minimally invasive, painless, minimal toxicity and drugs develop their effect where needed," - Yunus Alapan, study co-lead author.

Study by Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems published in Science Advances.

Bacterial microrobots activate immune response and release drugs directly at desired tumor sites

Mentioned in this article:

Click on resource name for more details.

Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems

Research institute that combines interdisciplinary research in the growing field of intelligent systems.

Science Advances

Journal that publishes original research and reviews in all disciplines of science

Yunus Alapan

Postdoctoral researcher at Georgia Institute of Technology