Microrobotic carrier with enzymatically encoded drug release in the presence of pancreatic cancer cells via programmed self-destruction

Marta Pacheco, Carmen C. Mayorga-Martinez, Jitka Viktorova, Tomáš Ruml, Alberto Escarpa, Martin Pumera

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5 Citations (Scopus)


The field of micro/nanorobots is at the forefront of nanotechnology research. Particularly, magnetically propelled micro/nanorobots demonstrate great potential for biomedical applications due to their biocompatibility in biological environments. Herein is a concept of magnetically powered micromachines with a biodegradable polymer and layer containing an incorporated anticancer drug. The microrobot is chemically programmed in such a way that the polymer layer is degraded by the enzymatic activity of lipase, which is overexpressed in pancreatic cancer cells. This causes degradation of the microrobot's polymer layer and, thus, destruction of this robot, releasing the anticancer drug, which in turn kills the pancreatic cancer cell. Magnetic microrobots are based on microspheres made of polycaprolactone (PCL), iron oxide nanoparticles (Fe3O4), and coated polyethyleneimine (PEI) micelles containing the anticancer drug. Lipase, naturally overexpressed specifically in pancreatic cancer cells, triggers the drug release from the micromachines through biodegradation of PCL. The developed PCL-Fe3O4/PEI magnetic microrobots are fully biocompatible and represent a promising tool for programmable drug release that may be useful in many biomedical applications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101494
JournalApplied Materials Today
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Jun

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the project “Advanced Functional Nanorobots” (reg. No. CZ.02.1.01/0.0/0.0/15_003/0000444 financed by the EFRR). Authors were supported by Ministry of Education , Youth and Sports (Czech Republic) grant LL2002 under ERC CZ program and by the Ministry of Health of the Czech Republic (NU21–08–00407). M. Pacheco acknowledges the Spanish Ministry of Education (grant number FPU 16/02211).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Materials Science(all)


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