JUL 08, 2020 10:50 AM PDT

Microbots Show Promise for Advancing Single-Cell Tissue Biopsy

WRITTEN BY: Daniel Duan

A biopsy is an invasive, interventional procedure that involves extracting a tissue sample for the diagnosis of certain diseases, such as breast cancer. It can effectively differentiate malignant cells from benign ones, which can otherwise be overlooked by other diagnostic methods like CT and MRI scans. However, the puncturing of skin and other tissues bear the risk of infections, bleeding, or even spreading cancer.

A team of researchers at Johns Hopkins University reported that they developed a nimble microscopic device that is capable of isolating and retrieving single-cell samples in vivo. Unlike all previous inventions, their "microgrippers" can "excise, capture, and manipulate" individual cells in one single process.

These single-cell grippers have four triangle-shaped digits powered by mechanical tension, derived from the chemical bonds of their silicon oxides base. To allow the microdevices to travel through narrow blood vessels under the guidance of an external magnetic field, scientists also integrated a layer of iron into the grippers. Finally, biocompatible paraffin wax was used to wrap around the grippers and provide a heat controlled trigger. The assembled devices enabled the researchers to remotely capture individual cells on-demand. 

The Johns Hopkins group believes that their invention could advance the development of single-cell scale biopsy tools, and potentially make its way to other applications such as lab-on-a-chip devices, microrobotics, and minimally invasive surgery.

Their work is published in the journal Nano Letters.

Source: C&EN via Youtube

About the Author
  • Graduated with a bachelor degree in Pharmaceutical Science and a master degree in neuropharmacology, Daniel is a radiopharmaceutical and radiobiology expert based in Ottawa, Canada. With years of experience in biomedical R&D, Daniel is very into writing. He is constantly fascinated by what's happening in the world of science. He hopes to capture the public's interest and promote scientific literacy with his trending news articles. The recurring topics in his Chemistry & Physics trending news section include alternative energy, material science, theoretical physics, medical imaging, and green chemistry.
You May Also Like
MAY 23, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Improving the understanding of GPCRs functioning
MAY 23, 2020
Improving the understanding of GPCRs functioning
New research reported in Current Opinion in Structural Biology combines structural and spectroscopic approaches to garne ...
MAY 25, 2020
Plants & Animals
Ever Wonder How Some Fish Produce Electricity?
MAY 25, 2020
Ever Wonder How Some Fish Produce Electricity?
When you hear the term ‘electric fish,’ the first thing that probably comes to mind is the infamous electric ...
MAY 28, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Expandable Resin Solves the Size Problem of 3D Printing
MAY 28, 2020
Expandable Resin Solves the Size Problem of 3D Printing
One of the current limitations of using a 3D printer is the size of the product. For someone to print a large part, they ...
JUN 05, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
New Solid-State Battery Bids Farewell to Life-Span Limiting Dendrites
JUN 05, 2020
New Solid-State Battery Bids Farewell to Life-Span Limiting Dendrites
A team of Samsung-sponsored researchers reported in a Nature article an innovative design of solid-state batteries  ...
JUL 09, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Can we use electricity to clean up toxic wastewater?
JUL 09, 2020
Can we use electricity to clean up toxic wastewater?
Scientists from the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Sydney have figured out how to ...
JUL 23, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Nano-sized silver-catalyst converts carbon dioxide into carbon monoxide in artificial photosynthesis
JUL 23, 2020
Nano-sized silver-catalyst converts carbon dioxide into carbon monoxide in artificial photosynthesis
A new development in artificial photosynthesis utilizes a high-efficient silver-catalyst electrode to convert carbon dio ...
Loading Comments...