Nanorobots for Endovascular Target Interventions in Future Medical Practice
- Pp. 85-106 (22)Sylvain Martel
Medical robotics have evolved from interventions being performed by relatively large robots outside the patient to smaller untethered versions such as the camera pills for operations inside the digestive track. But despite these recent technological advances, many types of medical interventions are still out-of-reach to such modern medical robotic systems. More recently, a new class of untethered robots has emerged. These robots are miniaturized further to target regions in the human body only accessible through smaller diameter blood vessels and as such, they could play a more critical role in many medical applications. Tumor targeting is an obvious example where robotics being applied to miniature untethered carriers capable of transporting drugs can play a major role by offering an improved concentration of therapeutic agents at the targeted area and a decrease of systemic side effects compared to modern interventions such as chemotherapy. But to be successful, such class of robotics must as nanomedicine did, consider nanotechnology to implement critical functionalities aimed at enabling new target therapies or at least to improve many existing medical interventions. This new field of robotics referred here to as medical nanorobotics would therefore achieve such goal by embedding and exploiting nanometer-scale components and phenomena within the context of robotics. In this chapter, the nanoparticles being among the simplest nanometer-scale components to be embedded in such miniature robots will be used as an example to initiate the readers with the powerful concept of nanorobotics and how it can affect future medical practice and in particular, endovascular target interventions.