Research ArticleMEDICAL ROBOTS

Human adipose–derived mesenchymal stem cell–based medical microrobot system for knee cartilage regeneration in vivo

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Science Robotics  22 Jan 2020:
Vol. 5, Issue 38, eaay6626
DOI: 10.1126/scirobotics.aay6626


Targeted cell delivery by a magnetically actuated microrobot with a porous structure is a promising technique to enhance the low targeting efficiency of mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) in tissue regeneration. However, the relevant research performed to date is only in its proof-of-concept stage. To use the microrobot in a clinical stage, biocompatibility and biodegradation materials should be considered in the microrobot, and its efficacy needs to be verified using an in vivo model. In this study, we propose a human adipose–derived MSC–based medical microrobot system for knee cartilage regeneration and present an in vivo trial to verify the efficacy of the microrobot using the cartilage defect model. The microrobot system consists of a microrobot body capable of supporting MSCs, an electromagnetic actuation system for three-dimensional targeting of the microrobot, and a magnet for fixation of the microrobot to the damaged cartilage. Each component was designed and fabricated considering the accessibility of the patient and medical staff, as well as clinical safety. The efficacy of the microrobot system was then assessed in the cartilage defect model of rabbit knee with the aim to obtain clinical trial approval.

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