The introduction of minimally invasive surgery in the 1980’s created a paradigm shift in surgical procedures. Health care is now in a position to make a more dramatic leap by integrating newly developed wireless microrobotic technologies with nanomedicine to perform precisely targeted, localized endoluminal techniques. Devices capable of entering the human body through natural orifices or small incisions to deliver drugs, perform diagnostic procedures, and excise and repair tissue will be used. These new procedures will result in less trauma to the patient and faster recovery times, and will enable new therapies that have not yet been conceived. In order to realize this, many new technologies must be developed and synergistically integrated, and medical therapies for which the technology will prove successful must be aggressively pursued.
This proposed project will result in the realization of animal trials in which wireless microrobotic devices will be used to investigate a variety of extremely delicate ophthalmic therapies. The therapies to be pursued include the delivery of tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA) to blocked retinal veins, the peeling of epiretinal membranes from the retina, and the development of diagnostic procedures based on mapping oxygen concentration at the vitreous-retina interface. With successful animal trials, a path to human trials and commercialization will follow. Clearly, many systems in the body have the potential to benefit from the endoluminal technologies that this project considers, including the digestive system, the circulatory system, the urinary system, the central nervous system, the respiratory system, the female reproductive system and even the fetus. Microrobotic retinal therapies will greatly illuminate the potential that the integration of microrobotics and nanomedicine holds for society, and greatly accelerate this trend in Europe.
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