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A single dose of urea-powered nanorobots reduces bladder tumors by 90% in mouse study

Date: 19.1.2024 

Bladder cancer has one of the highest incidence rates in the world and ranks as the fourth most common tumor in men.

Kredit: Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC).Despite its relatively low mortality rate, nearly half of bladder tumors resurface within 5 years, requiring ongoing patient monitoring. Frequent hospital visits and the need for repeat treatments contribute to making this type of cancer one of the most expensive to cure.

While current treatments involving direct drug administration into the bladder show good survival rates, their therapeutic efficacy remains low. A promising alternative involves the use of nanoparticles capable of delivering therapeutic agents directly to the tumor. In particular, nanorobots – nanoparticles endowed with the ability to self-propel within the body – are noteworthy.

Now, a study published in the journal Nature Nanotechnology reveals how a research team successfully reduced the size of bladder tumors in mice by 90% through a single dose of urea-powered nanorobots.

These tiny nanomachines consist of a porous sphere made of silica. Their surfaces carry various components with specific functions. Among them is the enzyme urease, a protein that reacts with urea found in urine, enabling the nanoparticle to propel itself. Another crucial component is radioactive iodine, a radioisotope commonly used for the localized treatment of tumors.

Image source: Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC).





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