Scientists have set a new Guinness World Record by creating the smallest medical robot - a device measuring just 120 nanometres that could assist in future cancer and Alzheimer’s treatments.
The series of nanorobots was created by Soutik Betal during his doctoral research at University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) in the US could one day lead to huge medical advancements.
“We have developed nanocomposite particles that can be remotely controlled by an electromagnetic field. They function like extremely tiny robots that interact with biological cells,” said Ruyan Guo, a professor at UTSA.
The nanocomposites are made of two different types of multifunctional oxide materials in a “core and shell” configuration.
The core is magnetic and changes ‘shape’ in response to magnetic fields. The ferroelectric shell is converts pressure into electric potentials.
The magneto-elasto-electric coupled effect in the nanocomposites act as arms and legs that move the nanoparticle around to interact with targeted biological cells.
The nanorobots can move cells to align with one another, push cells into different locations and possibly be used to deliver medication into a cell.
The experimental demonstration of UTSA’s remotely controlled medical robot was performed in late 2016.
While the fabrication of core-shell structured materials have been developed through international research exchanges with collaborators in Brazil, the team discovered and Betal demonstrated the nanocomposites produced permeable motion.
“Their abilities leave room for much hope,” Guo said.
“We believe cancerous cells may be specifically targeted for treatment eliminating the need for some chemotherapy treatments, and Alzheimer’s disease victims could possibly receive special treatments by aligning cells which have ceased to live in the brain,” he said.