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Stem cell microbots travel from nose to brain to treat disease

Date: 22.11.2021 

Researchers in Korea have developed microbots made of stem cells that can be delivered through the nose into the brain. These “Cellbots,” which bypass the blood-brain barrier, could one day be used to treat brain cancers and neurodegenerative diseases.

Kredit: Advanced Healthcare Materials.The researchers created microbots made mostly of human nuclear transfer stem cells (hNTSCs), with iron oxide nanoparticles inside them. Those nanoparticles allow the Cellbots to be steered using magnetic fields. Once in the brain, the Cellbots can differentiate into neurons, neural precursor cells and neurogliocytes, which could help treat a range of nervous system disorders.

The team tested the Cellbots by first guiding them through microfluidic channels, showing how they can be controlled using an external magnetic field. Next, they transplanted them into lab-grown brain organoids, to examine their function. And finally, they demonstrated the nasal delivery method in mice, showing that the Cellbots could then be guided to the target location in the brain using magnets.

The researchers say that the new method is more effective and less invasive than surgery or other techniques to get drugs into the brain. The iron oxide particles don’t interfere with the stem cells’ work, they say, and should be safe for the brain of the recipient.





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