Microrobots manufactured from algae deliver chemotherapy on to lung tumors, improving cancer treatment

Tumors that migrate to the lungs, or Lung metastasesrepresent an enormous challenge in the sphere of cancer treatment. Conventional chemotherapy often falls short since it is inefficient. It doesn’t act directly on the lungs and doesn’t accumulate in concentrations high enough to kill tumors.

My colleagues and me from that Laboratory money And Zhang Research Group on the University of California, San Diego have spent the last five years developing biohybrid microrobots, tiny objects manufactured from natural and artificial materials that may be utilized in medicine.

In our newly published study, we Green microalgae-based biohybrid microrobot that may deliver chemotherapy on to the lungs and treat lung metastases.

Microscopic image of small, almost transparent green spheres
Microalgae can swim through your body.
CSIRO/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA

Drug delivery through algae

Synthetic microrobots are frequently manufactured from rigid metal or polymer structures which might be difficult to fabricate, they can’t reach certain organs and tissues, and may be toxic to humans.

Microalgae overcome these concerns. Microalgae can move autonomously by utilizing a hair-like appendage called flagella to maneuver through organs similar to the lungs. They are less toxic in comparison with other microorganisms. They are also cheaper and easier to supply.

Our biohybrid microrobot – called Algae NP(DOX) robot – combines microscopic, living green microalgae, which are sometimes utilized in medicines, Chlamydomonas reinhardtiiwith nanoparticles coated with red blood cell membranes. The cell membranes act as a natural “camouflage” to enhance the biocompatibility of the microrobot and forestall it from being attacked by the patient's immune system. The nanoparticles contain a standard chemotherapy drug called doxorubicin.

We tested our algae-based microrobots on mice with lung metastases. By administering these algae-based microrobots via the trachea, we were in a position to deliver the drug on to the lungs and minimize negative effects on other organs. In the lungs, our algae-based microrobot was in a position to swim and distribute the drug within the lung tissue. It was also in a position to evade destruction by immune cells within the lungs, allowing the drug to be step by step released from the nanoparticles.

The researchers had previously used their algae-based microrobots to treat pneumonia.

Compared to free drugs and static drug-loaded nanoparticles that can’t move on their very own, our biohybrid microrobots collected at higher concentrations and remained within the lungs longer.

By more effectively delivering chemotherapy to diseased lung tissue, our biohybrid microrobots significantly improved treatment outcomes by shrinking lung tumors and prolonging the survival of treated mice. In mice treated with our algae-based microrobots, median survival time increased by 40%, extending from 27 to 37 days.

Immune cells eventually break down the microrobots into non-toxic components and take away them completely from the body.

Biotechnical treatments

Our findings reveal that biohybrid microrobots represent an efficient approach for delivering drugs to the lungs to treat lung diseases.

We have already used our microrobot platform manufactured from green microalgae to treat acute pulmonary pneumoniaWe at the moment are specializing in treating other difficult lung diseases similar to cystic fibrosis and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

We are also working on developing a way to deploy our biohybrid microrobots more effectively and non-invasively. By integrating additional motion control strategies similar to magnetic guide or Ultrasonic trappingcould increase the buildup of medication at specific goal sites within the body.

It shall be a while before our biohybrid microrobots are utilized in the clinic, but overall, the mix of living microalgae with cell membrane-coated nanoparticles for drug delivery may help lay the inspiration for biotechnological cancer treatments.

image credit : theconversation.com