Miniature floating device revolutionizing treatment of diseases

Scientists have created a miniature floating device, similar in shape and behavior on sperm, which could revolutionize the treatment of diseases, delivering drugs to desired parts of the body.

Миниатюрные плавающие устройства революционизируют лечение болезней

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Researchers from Exeter University who developed the device and magnetic control mechanism, also created a mathematical model allowing them to predict the behavior of devices in different environments such as microfluidic channels or complex fluids. The device consists of a magnetic head and a movable tail, through which they can “swim” to the required locations after the activation magnetic field. Article about the work published in the journal Physics of Fluids.

They believe that their development can be used to deliver drugs to the parts of the body, thereby significantly improving the timing and increasing the success of treatment. The researchers also believe that the device can revolutionize a wider field microfluidic involved in the movement of fluids in extremely narrow channels.

Now the researchers focused on the use of microscopic counterparts. They have already successfully demonstrated his swimmers, similar in size to red blood cells.

Миниатюрные плавающие устройства революционизируют лечение болезней

Geometricheskaya configuration of the theoretical model of “the swimmer” (a) and schematic representation of the individual ferromagnetic “swimmer” (b) / © University of Exeter

Similar devices have previously been developed using more sophisticated and expensive techniques. New development can be run in mass production, thus lowering the cost and creating a disposable microfluidic chips.

“The development of this technology could radically change how medicine is practiced. Swimmers one day can be used to direct drugs to the desired part of the body in blood vessels, says Professor Theodore Ogren, a senior researcher at Exeter University. In the future the diagnosis of many diseases until a cure can be as simple as a drop of blood on the chip in the doctor’s office. This is particularly useful in the treatment of sepsis, symptoms progress from mild to life-threatening before you can do the tests”.

Changing the length of the tail and strength of the applied magnetic field, the researchers were able to determine the optimal length for speed and controllability, which allowed them to force the device to move in the direction of the magnetic field or perpendicular to it.

Microfluidics often relies on the use of high-pressure pumps for moving fluids due to the fact that they become very viscous in such small channels. The researchers showed that their floating device can operate as a pump or a valve in such technology. This could revolutionize the whole area, providing a simple and effective way of manipulating fluids on a microscopic scale.