May, 2022 - By WMR
The new tentacle-like robot is magnetically guided to reach the smallest bronchial tubes in the lungs for taking tissue samples or delivering cancer therapy
Various possibilities of using magnetic field for cancer treatment are being explored by scientists all over the world. Exploring another use of magnetic field, a team of scientists at University of Leeds developed a thin new robot that is shaped like a tentacle and can be guided in the deep parts of lungs for inspecting wounds or delivering drugs. The tentacle-like robot was developed to extend the reach of bronchoscope, a medical instrument used for examining airways and lungs.
Using the tentacle-like new robot in bronchoscopy however has some limits in its maneuverability leaving some part of lungs out of reach. Thus, the team of scientists used a more flexible device that can be controlled when inside the body without any difficulties, and the team came up with a robot connected to cylindrical segments developed from a soft elastomeric and consisting small particles of magnets. So, when the robot is subjected to a magnetic field, the individual segments move separately, which makes the robot greatly flexible and capable of traveling through turns and twists in the lungs.
Furthermore, with a pre-operative scans doctors can create a map of route of unique structures of patient’s lungs. This can further be programmed into a robot consisting magnets for automating magnetic field’s control. The technology need more work before bringing it into clinical use. However, according to the scientists, the technology would be useful beyond taking samples, inspecting lesions, or delivering cancer drugs in places hard to reach. It will allow diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer with more reliability and safety without requiring addition X-rays of lungs.
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