Original research

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.

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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.