Plenary-Medina Sanchez

Mariana Medina Sánchez
Leader, Micro- and Nanobiomedical Engineering Group
Institute for Integrative Nanosciences
Leibniz Institute for Solid State and Materials Research, Dresden

Medical microrobots for non-invasive in vivo assisted reproduction

Our group have developed different types of physical and biohybrid micromotors, in particular, to assist sperm with motion defficiencies and to support embryo implantation, both towards non-invasive in vivo assisted reproduction. We have successfully demonstrated the guidance and transport of motile and immotile sperm by magnetic microcarriers actuated by weak external magnetic fields, in vitro, employing biological-relevant fluids. These sperm-hybrid microrobots have also been used as drug carriers towards gynecological cancer treatment. Moreover, we succeeded in the transport and release of multiple viable and mature sperm, being a crucial step to achieve the egg fertilization in vivo or to control drug dose in the case of cancer therapy. We have also evaluated their perfomance under blood stream and exploited their cargo-delivery functionality by functionalizing the carriers with heparin-loaded nanoliposomes and hyaluronidase-loaded polymersomes. Finally, in order to translate these technologies to pre-clinical trials, we have recently reported the succesful tracking of magnetically-driven micromotors in phantom, ex-vivo and in living mice with high spatial and temporal resolution employing ultrasound and photoacoustic imaging.