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German Scientists Develop Bacterial Microrobots To Combat Cancer Without Any Pain And Tears

Cancer treatment is still a challenge; though traditional cancer treatment methods like chemotherapy and immunotherapy have lowered mortality and morbidity rates to a great extent, they have their own limitations.

A cancer treatment method bacteriotherapy, either used alone or in combination with any traditional method, is known to show positive effects in inhibiting the progression of cancer cells and shows promising effects in the treatment of cancer. [1]

The scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems (Germany) claim to have created a cutting-edge bacteria-mediated therapy to treat cancer-spreading tumours by magnetically directing the bacteria as microrobots to deliver drugs to a specific location. [2]

How Do Bacterial Microrobots Destroy Cancer Cells?

The bacterial microrobots quickly and painlessly kill cancer cells by releasing medications right into the tumours. As the medication is delivered right on the spot, there are very low chances of pain and toxicity, and higher chances of the drugs' effects in the required body area and not the entire body.

The study was carried out on 86 E. coli bacteria, the most common type of bacteria that resides in the intestines of the human body. These bacteria were turned into microrobots by attaching numerous nanoliposomes (lipid vesicles to store chemotherapeutic drugs) and magnetic nanoparticles (iron oxide) to control their movement when inside the human body.

Bacteria were linked to nanoliposomes and magnetic particles by the use of potent biomolecule binding agents named streptavidin-biotin complexes. The agent forms a stable and unbreakable bond and helps keep the attachments intact.

When the microrobots successfully reach and surround the tumour tissues, just by the use of infrared radiation in the location, the attached drugs can be released, which will not only kill the cancerous cells but also awaken the dormant immune system to fight against the cancer cells.

Is Bacteriotherapy Promising?

Bacteriotherapy is a 1700-year-old technique; numerous researchers have tried to give microbes access to anti-cancer medications, but they have failed as the technique is a bit tricky and requires ideal fusion of various techniques.

The researchers of the study, Mukrime Birgul Akolpoglu and her team, have successfully managed to make the common bacteria E. coli efficient enough through nanomachines for drug delivery.

They made a way so that nanoliposomes, which are attached to the bacteria, will only release the drugs after coming into contact with infrared radiation, leaving no scope for release of drugs at other locations due to some therapeutic interactions or natural bacterial secretion.

Additionally, the movement control is managed by integrating magnetic particles into perfect combinations.

These features talk about the promising effects of bacteriotherapy.

To Conclude

At the beginning of the month, scientists from Japan engineered the genetic codes of parasitic worms, Anisakis simplex, and modified them in a way so that they could deliver cancer-killing substances directly to the infected cells without being affected inside the body.

Such treatment methods can bring hope to cancer patients in the future and bring mortality rates down to a great extent.

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