As a terminal disease threatening human existence, cancer alters DNA in human cells, causing uncontrolled cell division and ultimately spreads the disease. In order to destroy these abnormal cells, radiations are used but difficulty arises in targeting radiations to these abnormal cells without aﬀecting neighboring healthy cells. In order to combat the disease eﬀectively, a solution is to ensure radiations are directed towards cancerous cells only.
By storing the radioactive material in pills, drug delivery can be used to carry the drugs to the desired regions. Using magnetic material for outer covering of pills will conceal radiations from surroundings and aid in magnetic field directing the pills towards location of cancer. A current application of magnetic field for diagnostic and interventional purposes is maneuvering a catheter with magnetic tips inside the heart, and in capsule endoscopy where a capsule containing a tiny camera is guided to the gut.
In order to combat the disease eﬀectively, a solution is to ensure radiations are directed towards cancerous cells only.
Previously, groups of tiny magnets have been controlled but the challenge comes in individually handling the small magnets. The hurdle arises in the fact that identical eﬀect is applied on all the magnets when they are subjected to the same magnetic field, which creates problem in isolation of single magnet to move when required and at the desired speed.
Scientists have endorsed a way to address the problem. Identical magnetic screws will be made and strong magnetic field will be used to freeze these tiny screws. The powerful magnetic field will have small space of weak magnetic field, where the screws will be free to move. When the weak rotating magnetic field superimposes the strong magnetic field, it enables the screws to spin. This will assist in magnetic screws moving in diﬀerent directions simultaneously. Achieving this objective means diﬀerent screws can be manipulated to perform diﬀerent desired actions at a given time.
This could pave way for treatment of other diseases as this reduces the need for unnecessary surgeries and ensures focus on target.
The application of this would be to open the pills containing radiation at the desired site without aﬀecting the neighboring cells; and after desired amount of radiation is used, switching the pills oﬀ using the magnetic screws. The future prospects are to lock tiny robots until they reach the site of action and then allow them to treat the condition at the location, and then locking them again. This could pave way for treatment of other diseases as this reduces the need for unnecessary surgeries and ensures focus on target.
This article is based on research work by Jürgen Rahmer, Christian Stehning, and Bernhard Gleich.