CORDIS - EU research results

Microrobotics and Nanomedicine

Final Report Summary - BOTMED (Microrobotics and Nanomedicine)

BOTMED demonstrated the first controlled motion of sub-millimeter size microrobots in vivo. A magnetic manipulation system for small animals consisting of eight electromagnetic coils was designed and built. A number of different microrobots were designed and fabricated. Animal protocols were developed and mobility tests were performed within New Zealand white rabbits with intact vitreous and after performing a vitrectomy. This demonstrates the feasibility of using actively controlled microrobots, also called active intravitreal inserts, for directly targeting locations on the retina for precisely delivering drugs to diseased tissue.

BOTMED also investigated novel swimming strategies for microrobots, including bacteria-inspired helical structures capable of being actuated by low strength rotating magnetic fields (1 to 10 mT). Functionalizing these robots for carrying drugs for controlled release was also demonstrated in vitro. A swarm of 80,000 was injected into a mouse to further investigate mobility of these devices under the control of magnetic fields.

A human-sized system was also designed and built under BOTMED. The system is large enough to accommodate a human head and can be used for ophthalmic therapies as well as other applications such as neurosurgery.

A number of peer-reviewed journal and conference publications resulted from the project. Several of these papers received awards or were highlighted on the covers of journals. Two patents on magnetic manipulation have been granted and are currently being licensed.

Three spin-off companies have benefited from technology developed by BOTMED, including Aeon Scientific AG, MagnebotiX AG, and Ophthorobotics AG. Aeon licenses two patents from BOTMED, which were used to develop a magnetic manipulation system for steering magnetically tipped catheters within a beating heart to perform ablation procedures for treating heart arrhythmias. Eight patients have been treated to date with this system. MagnebotiX sublicenses these patents from Aeon to market a small magnetic manipulation system for use with microscopes. Their systems are sold across North America, Europe, and Asia. Ophthrobotics is developing an automated intravitreal injection system for treating retinal diseases, primarily age related macular degeneration. This spin-off company has been seed funded by Novartis.