Can Microbots Deliver Drugs into the Eye to Treat Macular Degeneration?
March 15, 2011
Here’s how it works: A tiny magnetic robot (“microbot”) that holds a drug reservoir is injected into the eye, and then can be manipulated via an electromagnetic system. Since it can stay in the eye for months, it can deposit drugs over time, and in specifically targeted places.
The microbot can also be used to strategically deposit a drug capsule in the eye, and then be removed via a magnetic needle.
Microbots would obviate the need for multiple eye injections for a condition like macular degeneration. With injections, the drugs usually pass through the retina quickly, thus necessitating repeated injections over time.
The “microbot” is being developed at the Institute of Robotics and Intelligent Systems (IRIS) in Zurich, Switzerland. So far it has only been tested in pig cadaver eyes, but trials in living animals are planned shortly.
A video showing the robot moving in an eye can be found here.
Risa Schulman, PhD
Expert, Healthy Food and Dietary Supplement Science, Marketing and Regulatory
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