Light-Triggered Drug Release from 3D-Printed Microrobots

Advances in design and fabrication of functional micro/nanomaterials have sparked growing interest in creating new mobile microswimmers for various healthcare applications, including local drug and other cargo (e.g., gene, stem cell, and imaging agent) delivery. Such microswimmer-based cargo delivery is typically passive by diffusion of the cargo material from the swimmer body; however, controlled active release of the cargo material is essential for on-demand, precise, and effective delivery.

Very recently, we have proposed a magnetically powered, double-helical microswimmer of 6 μm diameter and 20 μm length that can on-demand actively release a chemotherapeutic drug, doxorubicin, using an external light stimulus. We fabricate the microswimmers by two-photon-based 3D printing of a natural polymer derivative of chitosan in the form of a magnetic polymer nanocomposite. Drug release is ceased by controlled patterns of light induction, so as to adjust the desired release doses in the temporal domain.


This study presents the combination of light-triggered drug delivery with magnetically powered microswimmer mobility. This approach could be extended to similar systems where multiple control schemes are needed for on-demand medical tasks with high precision and efficiency.

Reference to the original article: Light-Triggered Drug Release from 3D-Printed Magnetic Chitosan Microswimmers.

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