Saturday, 8 October 2016

Magnetic bacteria carry anti-cancer drugs to tumors

Studies have taken place in Canada whereby magnetic bacteria are used to power nano-devices, to help ferry anti-cancer medicines to sites of tumors. Such devices offer faster and more precise drug delivery.

Researchers in Canada have connected microbiology with physics to make what is set to be a major advancement in cancer medicine. Here bacteria that are naturally magnetic are utilized with nanobots to create a vehicle for the targeted delivery of drugs. In trials the nanobots have successfully made contact in hard to reach areas.
The biological basis links with magnetotactic bacteria called Magnetococcus marinus (strain MC-1). These organisms are bacteria that have the ability to convert iron into magenetite inside their cellular organelles (called magnetosomes).
These organelles function as magnetite crystals and they function as nano-magnets. When in a chain formation the crystals work like an internal compass for north and south detection and direction. The bacteria use this mechanism to move within water to areas where there is the optimal oxygen concentration.
Taking these special properties, a science group have created nanobots and used the device to ferry lipososomes into tumors for studies using mice. Because the organism also has an ability to survive in low oxygen areas. In the human body most tumors are low oxygen regions (hypoxic areas), making the bacteria ideal for such applications.
In the mouse model trials the drug was successfully delivered, with the anti-cancer drug delivered to tumors and healthy tissue left unaffected. The next step is to run further animal studies, with the ultimate goal being human trials.
Interviewed by Laboratory Roots, lead scientist Sylvain Martel, Director of the Polytechnique MontrĂ©al Nanorobotics Laboratory explains: “These legions of nanorobotic agents were actually composed of more than 100 million flagellated bacteria - and therefore self-propelled - and loaded with drugs that moved by taking the most direct path between the drug's injection point and the area of the body to cure.”
The research findings are published in the journal Nature. The paper is called “Magneto-aerotactic bacteria deliver drug-containing nanoliposomes to tumour hypoxic regions.”  

Posted by Dr. Tim Sandle

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