It is worth noting that the researchers from the University of Twente as well as Radboudumc in the Netherlands went on to insert the screw-shaped robots in a detached aorta with kidneys, where they went on to control them by way of using a robotically controlled rotating magnet. Notably, Health Holland recently went on to award a grant to develop further the technology so as to be able to get rid of blood clots.
Every year across the world, one in every four people dies from conditions that are caused due to blood clots. A blood clot goes on to block a blood vessel, thereby preventing the blood from taking oxygen to specific areas of the body. Surgeons can go on to use flexible instruments so as to remove the blood clot, hence allowing the blood to flow again, yet some regions in the body happen to be difficult to reach. Millirobots can make sure to overcome these lacunas as well as remove blood clots from certain difficult-to-reach blood vessels.
The studies went on to suggest that these millirobots were able to go through blood vessels. To do so, millirobots require the power to travel up as well as downstream and to precisely be controlled as well as localized. They also need to be biocompatible as well as leave no further damage when it comes to the inside of blood vessels. It is well to be noted that at the Technical Medical Centre of the University of Twente, the scientists went on to set up their experiment along with a real aorta as well as kidneys. Islam Khalil says that this needed an interdisciplinary approach, and the partnership among several different departments, such as the robotics lab, blood lab, laboratory of biointerface, DesignLab, MESA+, as well as LipoCoat, all aided them in achieving this successful result.
In the study, the researcher went on to use a robotically controlled rotating magnetic field in order to control the millirobots with a wireless mode. Due to the X-ray machine, they were capable enough to localize the millirobot while driving via the aorta. The researchers also maintained an arterial flow of 120 ml in a minute inside the aorta. But due to a stronger magnetic field, the millirobots can be able to overcome a greater blood flow. The millirobots went on to perform some stable straight runs with or even against the flow, also due to numerous robots at the same time.
The robots themselves happen to be 3D-printed, screw-shaped objects that have a small permanent magnet inside. Khalil says that this tiny magnet, which is just one millimetre long and one millimetre in diameter, happens to be placed in a way that it can rotate the screw both ways. This enables swimming against the flow and thereafter turning around as well as swimming back. Its small size enables it to make use of many robots at the same time, and the screw shape helps it to drill via a blood clot.
These millirobots happen to have huge potential when it comes to vascular surgery, opines Michiel Warle, who is a vascular surgeon at Radboudumc. At present, they are using blood thinners as well as flexible tools, but a millirobot can go through hard-to-reach arteries, and they only need minimal incisions so as to get inserted. In a new partnership with Radboudumc and Triticum Medical from Israel, the researchers will go on to further develop the millirobots so as to help them get rid of blood clots wirelessly. The consortium will find ways to make the most of this technology, thereby eyeing a collaborative growth in medical robotics as well as technical medicine.
Apart from breaking up the blood clots so as to enable the blood flow of arteries, the technology can go on to be used for other interventions. As per Khalil, the robots can deliver drugs to very precise places across the body where the drug happens to be needed the most. That way, one can witness least side effects when it comes to the rest of the body.
It is worth noting that this collaboration between Radboudumc as well as the University of Twente has received funding from the TURBO-Twente University RadBoudumc Opportunities program. Due to the TURBO program, research groups from both institutions can go on to broaden this landmark idea into one large research project. The researchers have also extended their partnership with Triticum Medical-Israel so as to further create more millirobots. Significantly, Health Holland recently gave them a TKI-LSH-Topconsortia for Knowledge & Innovation – Life Science & Health grant for public-private partnerships through Health Holland.