Research ArticleNANOROBOTS

A microrobotic system guided by photoacoustic computed tomography for targeted navigation in intestines in vivo

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Science Robotics  24 Jul 2019:
Vol. 4, Issue 32, eaax0613
DOI: 10.1126/scirobotics.aax0613


Recently, tremendous progress in synthetic micro/nanomotors in diverse environment has been made for potential biomedical applications. However, existing micro/nanomotor platforms are inefficient for deep tissue imaging and motion control in vivo. Here, we present a photoacoustic computed tomography (PACT)–guided investigation of micromotors in intestines in vivo. The micromotors enveloped in microcapsules are stable in the stomach and exhibit efficient propulsion in various biofluids once released. The migration of micromotor capsules toward the targeted regions in intestines has been visualized by PACT in real time in vivo. Near-infrared light irradiation induces disintegration of the capsules to release the cargo-loaded micromotors. The intensive propulsion of the micromotors effectively prolongs the retention in intestines. The integration of the newly developed microrobotic system and PACT enables deep imaging and precise control of the micromotors in vivo and promises practical biomedical applications, such as drug delivery.

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