A combination of biology and robotics to bring drugs only where they are needed. The new cyborg bacteria fight cancer and are painless and non-invasive.
Here come the cyborg bacteria , a combination of robotics and biology against cancer . All thanks to the artificial elements in addition called Escherichia coli bacteria . They are able to cross the tumor area and carry the drugs they need to the precise point. Escherichia coli are Gram-negative bacteria found in the intestines of healthy people. The researchers who made them are from the German Max Planck Institute.
The study was coordinated by Birgül Akolpoglu. The therapy obtained from the cyborg bacteria is minimally invasive for the patient, painless . A treatment aimed only at the area of the body that needs the drug. These bacteria swim versatile and fast even through very viscous substances. In addition, they are attracted to areas with low oxygen levels and high acidity, typical of the tumor. Bacteria, by nature, have always grouped together, growing at the point of cancer. Then they turn on the patients’ immune systems like a switch . Now these bacteria want to be enhanced, but it is not easy due to unpredictable chemical reactions.
The researchers obtained 86 out of 100 cyborg bacteria with the addition of two different elements. One is made up of nanoliposomes, they are small, round vesicles with membranes that carry anti-cancer drugs within them. The second element are magnetic iron oxide nanoparticles to enhance the movement of bacteria making it easy to control.
Thanks to the magnetic field, the tiny organisms make their way to the tumor . Then once they arrive, an infrared laser melts the drug containers releasing the medicine where it is needed. In the experimentation, a modified sub-strain of Escherichia Coli MG1655 was used as the biological unit. These types also make it possible to use GFP (a green fluorescent protein) to help obtain good imaging that uses fluorescence.
The only downside to bacteria is that they have very short multiplication times (20 minutes in optimal conditions). This results in the potential loss of the artificial units of the microrobots in the growth phase. As a result, there is a decrease in efficiency and a weakening of the magnetic orientability for a long time.
- Cyborg bacteria are ready, modified to fight tumors (ansa.it)