UTSA invention that can't be seen with human eye lands world record

'Nanorobot' could eliminate need for some chemotherapy, professor says

By Mariah Medina - Digital Journalist

SAN ANTONIO - A revolutionary creation out of the University of Texas at San Antonio can't be seen with the human eye, but earned a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records for that exact reason.

Extremely tiny surgical robots created by an electrical engineering doctoral candidate and professors at UTSA have not only created new possibilities in the medical field, but have landed the world record for smallest medical robot, a news release from UTSA said.

Soutik Betal crafted the nanorobots during his doctoral research under the guidance of professors Ruyan Guo and Amar S. Bhalla of the university's Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

"In a nutshell, we have developed nanocomposite particles that can be remotely controlled by an electromagnetic field," Guo said. "They function like extremely tiny robots that interact with biological cells."

According to a news release, the nanorobots can align cells with one another, move cells into different locations and can possibly be used to deliver medication into a cell.

The framework for the nanorobot was developed via collaboration with researchers in Brazil, but the UTSA team discovered that the nanocomposite particles could enter a cell, leading to a host of potential uses in the medical field.

While the Guinness World Record Book recognition is exciting, Guo said their greatest reward from their discovery may be yet to come.

"Their abilities leave room for much hope," Guo said. "We believe cancerous cells may be specifically targeted for treatment eliminating the need for some chemotherapy treatments, and Alzheimer's disease victims could possibly receive special treatments by aligning cells which have ceased to live in the brain. There is still much work to be done, but we are very happy for this recognition and the potential that lies ahead."

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