Mines researchers develop injectable microwheels to deliver fast, effective treatment for blood clots

This diagram illustrates the assemblage and rolling of the microwheels.

GOLDEN, Colo., Jan. 6, 2016 – Biomedical microwheel research conducted by members of the Colorado School of Mines Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering has been published in Nature Communications.

The paper, “Surface-enabled propulsion and control of colloidal microwheels,” co-authored by CBE Department Head David Marr, Associate Professor Keith Neeves, Postdoc Onur Tasci and Associate Professor Paco Herson of the University of Colorado-Denver, demonstrates microscale biomedical devices shaped like wheels can be injected into the body and effectively “roll” to treat areas in need – such as arterial blockages.

“Propulsion at the microscale is akin to swimming though molasses, a challenge biomedical microbots must overcome,” said Marr. “The microbots may either mimic microorganisms using flagella or employ artificial methods to direct themselves. Inspired by our shift to cars from animal-based transport, we show that microwheels the size of a single cell can be constructed and powered with magnetic fields.”

Marr notes the devices could be assembled using a “ship in a bottle” approach: injected into the body and then assembled into wheels that roll like car tires to the afflicted tissue using low-strength external magnetic fields. The resulting microwheel movement occurs with greatly improved speeds and directional control compared to other propulsion strategies.

To learn more, see Nature Communications.


Karen Gilbert, Director of Public Relations, Colorado School of Mines | 303-273-3541 | kgilbert@mines.edu
Kathleen Morton, Digital Media and Communications Manager, Colorado School of Mines | 303-273-3088 | kmorton@mines.edu


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