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Ultrasound and magnetism move drug delivery nanobeads upstream

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Various groups are already working on it Nanoparticles Although it can be used for directional drug delivery through the bloodstream, most of these particles are designed to “go along the flow.” But now, Swiss researchers have actually created something that can be moved upstream.

The new nanoparticles developed at the ETH Zurich Institute are actually small magnetic beads that combine iron oxide and a polymer. They may also be carrying medications that probably had to be delivered to specific locations in the body. The width of each bead is only 3 micrometers.

In laboratory tests, the beads were placed in a liquid flowing through a glass tube with an inner diameter of 150-300 micrometers (approximately the width of a blood vessel). When exposed to an externally applied magnetic field, the beads gathered in a “flock” about 15-40 micrometers wide.

The swarm was then moved towards one wall of the tube using a directed pulse of ultrasound.By switching after that rotation The magnetic field allowed scientists to push the herd along the length of the tube in the opposite direction of the liquid flow.

Diagram showing how a swarm of nanobeads (red) can travel upstream by moving to the walls of the tube.
Diagram showing how a swarm of nanobeads (red) can travel upstream by moving to the walls of the tube.

Ahmed et al. Nature Machine Intelligence 2021

It was effective to lean the swarm against the wall of the tube, as the friction between the liquid and the glass weakens the current. Canoeers rowing upstream of the river use a similar trick in that the water stays near the slow-moving coastline.

Scientists are now planning to see how this technology works in the blood vessels of real animals. The beads are expected to ultimately be used not only for targeted drug delivery, but also for microsurgery procedures such as clearing obstructed blood vessels.

“Our method is ideal for controlling microvehicles in the body because both ultrasound and magnetic fields penetrate body tissue,” said Professor Daniel Ahmed, who leads the project with Professor Bradley Nelson. I will.

Magnetic beads can be seen in the upstream action in the video below.

A research paper was recently published in a journal Nature Machine Intelligence..

Source: ETH Zurich

Swim upstream with sound waves

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