Targeted Drug Delivery via Microrobots

Subscribe to the KNI Email List

KNI-affiliated professors Wei Gao and Lihong Wang embark on a remarkable new way to treat digestive tumors

Targeted drug delivery via microrobots

August 2, 2019

Through a joint research effort by professors Lihong Wang and Wei Gao, a new era of medical treatment may be on the horizon. Together they have demonstrated the ability to reach a diseased area within the human body and release medication via microrobots. The targeted treatment technique builds upon the uses of photoacoustic computed tomagraphy (PACT), a technology developed by Bren Professor of Medical Engineering and Electrical Engineering Lihong Wang, that creates images of the body's internal structures. With PACT, Wang and Gao were able to create multilayered spherical microrobots that can be guided towards specific parts of the digestive tract where tumors reside.

Assistant professor of Medical Engineering Wei Gao explains, "these micromotors can penetrate the mucus of the digestive tract and stay there for a long time. This improves medicine delivery. But because they're made of magnesium, they're biocompatible and biodegradable."

Their novel approach to treatment delivery is still in development stages. For more information, please read the complete article on Caltech's News webpage or Wang and Gao's publication in Science Robotics, "A microrobotic system guided by photoacoustic tomography for targeted navigation in intestines in vivo." The paper's authors are: Zhiguang Wu, Lei Li, Yiran Yang, Peng Hu, Yang Li, So-Yoon Yang, Lihong V. Wang and Wei Gao. A portion of the research for this publication was conducted in the Kavli Nanoscience Institute Laboratory.